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MERSEY & IRISH SEA NEWS BULLETIN

OCTOBER 1999

31 OCTOBER 1999

NOTES & NEWS

This update has been compiled in rather a rush. Having been away for a few days I have found it difficult to catch up with everything that has happened - I suppose I should get a lap-top with built in modem - but unfortunately I have other priorities which would make such an investment rather frivolous in the extreme! A new desktop machine and digital camera being immediate priorities for next year [Providing I can shift some of my railway and bus related books and ephemera!] This will enable me to improve the quantity of news related photo galleries significantly and also develop the photographic content of the site and possibly provide some spin-off photo products which may subsidise the running costs of M&ISS - more details on this  later. 

Once again  would like to thank Gary Andrews and a number of other people who have been in touch for providing additional information this week.

Whilst I was away  on the Isles of Scilly I was busy taking photographs and I  already have some pictures processed. I intend to do a full write up on my trip, as it is mainly of nautical interest, as one would expect. This should appear next week. During the coming week I intend to continue cataloguing and sorting more of this year's other maritime photographs which should result in further photographic galleries appearing in the near future.

SEA CONTAINERS LTD

LADY OF MANN Bad weather on the Irish Sea has brought the Lady out again this weekend. On Saturday 30th October she sailed from Liverpool to Douglas, before crossing light to Dublin where she was expected to arrive at 22.00. She was then expected to operate the delayed 16.00 sailing from Dublin to Liverpool, which is scheduled for SUPERSEACAT THREE.

The same pattern was planned for Sunday 31st October. The Lady was seen to depart from Liverpool around 12.00 bound for Douglas with a good load of passengers 567 and 104 vehicles.

The LADY OF MANN is understood to be on standby for operation on Liverpool to Dublin on Monday and Tuesday 1st/2nd November.

A few ago when operating the Dublin - Douglas charter sailings for the Irish Autumn Bank Holiday she reverted to the north side berth 49 where she was seen to test the new Dublin Port passenger gangway. However, this was a one off and when covering for the SUPERSEACAT she sails from the new south side terminal.

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN: Though this vessel had been scheduled to remain in service until 31 October, she was noted at 11.00 on Sunday already at the company's Vittoria Dock lay-up berth close to and facing the PEVERIL. There are rumours that next season SEACAT ISLE OF MAN will operate a Heysham to Douglas sailing at the expense of a Liverpool to Douglas sailing.

BEN-MY-CHREE the company is refusing to confirm reports in the Isle of Man press that there will be major on board changes to the BEN-MY-CHREE. Apparently the restaurant and bar on the BEN-MY-CHREE will be separated from the main passenger lounge during the ship's refurbishment in January.

The vessel's accommodation layout and capacity has been the subject of criticism since she was introduced in summer 1998 and already certain changes have been necessary. However, Steam Packet spokesman Geoff Corkish told the Manx press:

"This is just all speculation and nothing has been finalised. All options are currently being considered."

There have been rumours in recent weeks that the BEN-MY-CHREE may have her passenger accommodation increased sooner or later to comfortably accommodate 750 passengers. Passenger surveys carried out aboard the vessel at the end of September would seem to back such speculation, though such extensive work would be more likely to take place at the 2001 refit as opposed to the January 2000 refit.

[JL's COMMENT: It is a shame that such radical changes are being contemplated so soon after the vessels introduction into service. Having made numerous journeys on the BEN-MY-CHREE during the past twelve months I have nothing but praise for this superb ship. Unfortunately her radical design when compared to the KING ORRY did come as quite a shock in many quarters but many passengers failed to realise that she was not built as a direct replacement which has resulted in the company making a number of changes already. ]

SEA CONTAINERS CHANNEL UPDATE by Gary Andrews

Hoverspeed are currently offering an excellent "2 for 1" promotion on their Folkestone - Boulogne route. Travelling on Hoverspeed's 15.00 SeaCat service from Folkestone and returning on the 21.00 sailing ex Boulogne, two foot passengers travel for the price of one, £5 (Sunday-Friday) or £10 on Saturdays. France's principal fishing port, Boulogne is home to some of France's finest seafood restaurants. Speeding across the Channel in under an hour, the HOVERSPEED GREAT BRITAIN arrives in Boulogne at 17.00 local time leaving plenty of time for a relaxed meal, before shopping at Hoverspeed's new look Boulogne Hoverstore. Passengers are back in the UK for 21.00.

At selected Boulogne restaurants, Hoverspeed passengers can even enjoy a complimentary drink, whilst in the Hoverstore, there's a selection of over 400 of the finest wines, with free tasting available. If you purchase 7 cases of wine or more, you can claim a free case of sparkling Chardonnay. With Christmas and the Millennium celebrations too close for comfort the trips are an ideal way to stock up on festive drinks and gifts. Hoverspeed's 'select and collect' service even provides free delivery back to Folkestone port. For more information, and to book, contact Hoverspeed on 08705 240241.

ATLANTIC II It would appear that the vessel will now not be operating an additional daily roundtrip on the Dover - Ostend route on the weekends of 5 - 7 November and 12 - 14 November. It is understood that a number of difficulties arose in connection with the planned sailings. It is possible that RAPIDE could be used instead, her place on the Dover - Calais route being taken by the ATLANTIC II.

HOVERSPEED'S NEW CHECK IN IS WORTH CHECKING OUT!

There is a brand new tourist attraction at the International Hoverport in Dover, where Hoverspeed has put a full hovercraft pylon and propeller assembly on display as part of its new look check-in facility for vehicle passengers.

The brainchild of Hoverspeed Managing Director, Geoffrey Ede, the display forms an impressive entrance to the hoverport. Geoffrey Ede said:

"Travelling with Hoverspeed is a unique experience - nowhere else in the world can you travel on a hovercraft service which takes both passengers and vehicles. We were keen to emphasise that the travel experience with Hoverspeed is different and exciting."

Hoverspeed's twin hovercraft, THE PRINCESS MARGARET and THE PRINCESS ANNE, are the largest hovercraft in the world, and also boast the largest four-blade driven propellers in the world - with a massive 21ft diameter.

The new look check-in also streamlines procedures at the hoverport. Geoffrey Ede concluded:

"With the fastest crossings on the Channel, this new investment in check-in procedures enables us to further differentiate the fast ferry concept from that of other operators, with an unrivalled motorway-to-motorway journey time. Combined with the fact that we do not carry HGV or coach traffic, our check-in procedures are amongst the most efficient of any operator."

HOVERSPEED BOOSTS FLANDERS TOURISM.

Hoverspeed, as the operator of the only cross-Channel tourist ferry service between the UK and Belgium, is spearheading a new tourism drive in conjunction with the UK office of Tourism Flanders Brussels. Inclusive of travel on Hoverspeed's SeaCat service from Dover to Ostend, a new brochure includes short breaks to Bruges, Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent, as well as to Ostend itself.

With a crossing time of just two hours from Dover by SeaCat, short breaks to Belgium are gaining in popularity according to Hoverspeed's general sales manager, Sue Seabrook. She said:

"Thanks to improved cross-Channel links direct to Belgium with Hoverspeed, the Flanders region continues to grow in popularity with UK visitors. The short breaks market is particularly attractive, and this new programme is designed to capitalise on the opportunities in some of Europe's finest city break destinations."

Inbound tourism to the Flanders region from the UK is expected to show continuing increases in 1999, thanks in part to the improved sea links from the UK following the launch of Hoverspeed's SeaCat service in March 1998.

SEA CONTAINERS IN BRIEF

GOLF DEAL: Passengers on Hoverspeed's Folkestone - Boulogne route can enjoy special discounted rates for a round of golf at one of the Nord-pas-de-Calais region's most popular courses, Les Golfs d'Hardelot. From 15 November 1999 to 15 March 2000, Hoverspeed passengers can enjoy a round of golf on the 18-hole Pines and Dunes courses for just 100FF (£10). For a further 100FF, passengers can also enjoy a three-course meal, together with a glass of wine or beer. Both offers are available on presentation of a Hoverspeed ticket.

WEATHER PROBLEMS: Severe weather saw all Hoverspeed English Channel sailings cancelled on 24 October. As a result, the following day saw certain Hoverspeed sailings were subject to delays or cancellations.

MORE 1ST NEWS: Hoverspeed is to increase capacity for its business and premium-paying passenger service '1st' onboard the Dover - Ostend 81-metre Incat craft DIAMANT and RAPIDE. The '1st' lounge was introduced to the Ostend route last year as a 20-seat lounge (reducing the standard passenger limit from 674 passengers to 654 passengers). Hoverspeed now plan to convert the entire "aft" cabin of the two craft into a '1st' lounge creating 30 new seats and a total of 50 '1st' seats per sailing, reducing the standard passenger limit to 624.

IRISH FERRIES

On Sunday 31st October all sailings by JONATHAN SWIFT were cancelled on the Dublin to Holyhead route.

NORMANDY PURCHASED BY IRISH FERRIES by Gary Andrews

Irish Ferries has underlined their commitment to the long-term development of their Ireland - France services with the announcement this week that they have entered into an agreement to purchase the NORMANDY (ex STENA NORMANDY). The NORMANDY has been operating under charter from Rederi AB Gotland of Sweden on Irish Ferries' Rosslare - Cherbourg and Rosslare - Roscoff routes for the past two years. The purchase of the vessel at $18.4 million (IR.£13.4 million, euro 17 million) is due to be completed on 10 November.

The announcement will come as good news to Ireland's tourism and freight sectors. In the year to date, the NORMANDY has carried almost 200,000 passengers. Built in Sweden in 1982, the NORMANDY has a gross tonnage of 24,872. It has capacity for 1,554 passengers, with berths for 1,124 passengers, and car deck space for 420 cars or 43 freight units.

Plans for the NORMANDY include major investment in a complete refurbishment of passenger facilities and cabin accommodation in time for Summer 2001 - work which the company was unable to embark upon while the vessel was under charter. Inevitably the upgrade work will also involve bringing the vessel up to the latest safety standards which will keep the vessel in service for the foreseeable future.

With ownership of the vessel, Irish Ferries Marketing Director Tony Kelly has confirmed that the company is now in a position to plan a return to the full-year operation of its Continental services "with confidence and certainty".

"By taking the vessel into Irish Ferries ownership, we are now free to invest in improved passenger facilities and services on board - something that would not have made economic sense while the vessel was under charter to us" Mr. Kelly said.

With the NORMANDY now available to Irish Ferries for the rest of her useful life, it would grow increasingly unlikely that the firm will ever operate the Irish Continental owned PRIDE OF BILBAO, used by P&O Portsmouth on their Portsmouth - Bilbao and Cherbourg routes.

STENA LINE

STENA INVICTA, currently owned by P&O Stena Line, which is due to operate on the Holyhead to Dublin route from 12 December for three months providing additional capacity over the Christmas, Millennium and following refit periods has been sold.

The vessel has been purchased by Color Line for use on the Strömstad-Sandefjord route and will be re-named COLOR VIKING.

It looks as though British enthusiasts will have at least several months in which to take farewell voyages, though, as she will operate on Stena's Holyhead to Dublin route it looks as though it will be necessary to take a car!

Following her Irish Sea charter she will be handed over to Color Line on 1 April 2000. After refurbishment she will enter service next summer replacing the 5,678 grt SANDEFJORD (at one time Thoresen's VIKING III) and operate alongside another former Stena vessel, the 8,772 grt BOHUS (ex LION PRINCESS).

WEATHER DISRUPTION

Poor weather over the weekend of 30th/31st October saw widespread disruption on the Irish Sea. All HSS sailings between Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire were cancelled on 31st October, and are advertised as being liable to disruption until Tuesday November 2nd.

On Sunday the STENA CHALLENGER operating between Holyhead and Dublin was reported to be delayed by approximately 4 hours, and may be cancelled.

HSS services from Stranraer to Belfast were also cancelled with passengers diverted to alternative crossings.

PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL by Gary Andrews

Several hundred passengers refused to leave the PRIDE OF RATHLIN on the afternoon of 30 October. The P&O European Ferries' vessel had returned to Larne after being unable to berth at Cairnryan in very severe conditions, presumably at the conclusion of her 08.00 sailing ex Larne. The passengers (understood to be Celtic Football supporters en route to a match) remained on board for up to two hours in Larne and left only after a P&O manager spoke with them. The company said that the matter has now been resolved to everyone's satisfaction. Following the berthing difficulties at Cairnryan all Larne - Cairnryan sailings were cancelled until weather conditions abated.

MERCHANT FERRIES / NORSE IRISH FERRIES by Gary Andrews

VARBOLA: It would appear that Merchant Ferries' charter of the Estonian Shipping Company's VARBOLA has come to an end, it had been thought the vessel might have been chartered more long-term for Irish Sea use. It is understood that the VARBOLA spent around two weeks operating on the Heysham - Dublin route whilst the SAGA MOON was operating the Liverpool - Belfast route in place of the MERSEY VIKING. The VARBOLA departed Dublin at 18.55 on 22 October bound for Vlissingen. The vessel is believed to have arrived in Vlissingen, around 09.00 on 25 October for overhaul and scheduled repairs, expected to be completed by 28 October.

The VARBOLA refit was completed at Vlissingen, a day late on the 29th October. She is currently laid up at Vlissingen awaiting her next charter.

NORSE IRISH

It would appear that despite the recent take-over by Cenargo, Norse Irish Ferries continues to operate relatively independently of Merchant Ferries (similar to how Belfast Freight Ferries operated until recently). A recent job advertisement (for the post of 'Shipboard Cook') conveyed this impression with no mention of the Cenargo ownership. The advert described Norse Irish as "a progressive and successful company operating the Belfast / Liverpool Freight and Passenger Service" and the address given for applications was the Norse Irish Belfast Victoria 2 terminal.

ROYAL IRIS

Robert Watson has written with regard to recent articles appearing in the Wirral News Group newspapers circulating on the Wirral Robert writes:" The first of two articles by Sarah Daniels on the ROYAL IRIS appeared in the Wirral News Group newspapers on 20 October. These were accompanied by photos showing the ROYAL IRIS in her prime, then as a derelict in Cardiff docks and in the second article as a "Sorry Sight" in a state of disrepair on the Thames in July. This has given rise to speculation that the ship is to be scrapped. However Joan Roberts of Friends of the Ferries is reported as stating, "The ROYAL IRIS has not been sold for scrap". A spokesman for the Port of London told Wirral News Group, "I can confirm the ROYAL IRIS has a new owner and may be developed in the future."

Following an invitation from the Newspaper to readers to contact them their office was reportedly "inundated with calls and letters". Among them was one from Edward Roddan who was her captain from 1959 to 1986. He had good memories of the ROYAL IRIS but felt "she has served her time now..." The Wirral News Group has promised to "investigate what will happen to the much loved cruiser in the coming weeks", adding that, "the ROYAL IRIS has a new  owner and there is still a chance she may make a return to her glory days." "

[JHL's COMMENT: The story of the slow, sad demise of the ROYAL IRIS is just another example of how our maritime heritage is crumbling away before our very eyes mainly due to the lack of concerted action by interested parties. Not everyone has the time or inclination to establish or run a preservation organisation, but as I have asked before, "Why is it so difficult for maritime preservation to achieve what railway, bus and aviation preservation takes for granted?". Whilst the large population of Merseyside has bemoaned the fate or the ROYAL IRIS for several years the much smaller population of the Welsh town of Chepstow has done a lot in the past few months to save the last River Severn car ferry SEVERN PRINCESS. At Chepstow people have managed to organise themselves and coordinate their efforts, perhaps, it might not be too late for the ROYAL IRIS yet?]

IRISH NAVAL SERVICE

The new vessel for the Naval Service, L.E. RÓISÍN arrived at the Naval Dockyard at Haulbowline Naval Base at Cobh this week. The vessel will be fitted out with its armaments at the naval base.

The L.E. RÓISÍN has a crew of 44 who will work the vessel up to operational status before she is commissioned into the Irish Naval Service in 2000.

L.E. RÓISÍN was built at a cost of £20m. at the Appledore shipyard in Devon and has the latest in modern high technology equipment. Lieutenant Commander Tom Doyle will command the vessel.

 

ISLES OF SCILLY STEAMSHIP COMPANY

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company's passenger and freight vessel SCILLONIAN III is enjoying a slightly extended season this year. She had been originally scheduled to conclude her seasonal service between Penzance and St. Mary's on Saturday 30th October. However, the ship will remain in service until 6th November operating return sailings as per the usual October schedule of Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

SCILLONIAN III has remained in to provide cargo facilities whilst the freight vessel GRY MARITHA undergoes her annual refit. The GRY MARITHA was withdrawn from service and entered the Penzance Dry Dock on 11th October. She is due to re-enter service on 8th November and will sail as per her usual schedule from Penzance on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays and from Hugh Town, St. Mary's on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Though a freight vessel, she does have limited accommodation for around 6 passengers.

The GRY MARITHA left the dry dock and moved into the wet dock at Penzance Harbour last week where work is continuing. Though much has been made of the completion of the dry dock work in the local press, opinion on Scilly suggests that the completion of the vessel is not on schedule as claimed - other wise the SCILLONIAN III would not be providing cover!

Some infrastructure improvements have taken place at Hugh Town, St. Mary's where additional high level lighting has recently been provided to illuminate the ISSCo berth. In the past most of the quay illumination was provided by lights on board the vessels even though much cargo handling is undertaken during the hours of darkness during the winter months.

The Penzance Dry Dock is now leased from its owner entrepreneur Peter De Savery by ship repairers and engineers Semple Chochrane plc. It was only 12 months ago that the Penzance Dry Dock lost the contract to undertake a major refit of SCILLONIAN III, which precipitated the yard's closure by Mr. De. Savery. Fortunately a deal with Semple Cochrane early in 1999 secured for the future of the yard. It is not known at present where the SCILLONIAN III will go for her refit.

This time last year the company had already announced details of its sea and air services for 1999 and brochures were available. This year, however, no brochures are available as yet.

However, a brochure for the Annual Pelagic Cruise advertised for Sunday the 20th August 2000 can be picked up from the company's offices in Penzance and St. Mary's. The brochure lists various birdlife and cetaceans which should be seen "the Company cannot be held responsible if passengers failed to sight any of the birds or cetaceans listed"!

The SCILLONIAN III will sail at 05.00 from Penzance heading west -south west into the Atlantic into an area known as "Wilson's Triangle". The cruise concludes at Penzance at 21.00. The fare is £80.00 Full refreshment facilities and a bar is provided.

[JHL's COMMENT: Though at first glance £80.00 appears quite pricey, when one realises that you are at sea for 14 hours it does represent good value. Though aimed at Bird Watchers or "Twitchers" as they are sometimes known, this sailing does offer the shipping enthusiast the opportunity to cover a part the Atlantic approaches not normally available to day excursionists and should be of interest to shipping enthusiasts.]

 

HARLAND & WOLFF NEWS by Gary Andrews

Belfast's Harland & Wolff shipyard is currently facing a crisis that could threaten the future of the yard.

The yard is running over time and over budget on a contract for two deepwater drilling ships for US offshore drilling company Global Marine. The £192 million contact is vital to the future of the yard.

Harland and Wolff is seeking compensation for a £10 million overspend on building the vessels, which H&W argue is the result of additional work demanded by Global Marine. However, Global Marine has claimed that they ordered no extra work and owe no more than the contract price saying that changes were the decision of Harland & Wolff.

Costs for the project have been covered by a £50 million August loan which parent company Fred Olsen Energy acted as guarantor. However, the company is subject to a £40 million bond on the deal for which they may be liable if something goes wrong and there are also financial penalties if the ships are delivered beyond the deadline. The first vessel was due to have been completed on 10 October but no penalties have been due yet.

A further crisis for the yard was emerging on 26 October when Norwegian firm STATOIL refused to accept an oilrig saying contract terms had not been fulfilled relating to the safety and structure of the vessel.

There is great worry that if the yard should not resolve the current crises it may be forced to close having a severe effect on the Northern Ireland economy. The yard had already been facing an uncertain future with nothing on the order books once current projects are complete.

Meanwhile the Sunday Times has reported that a replica of the TITANIC, arguably the most famous vessel ever built by Harland and Wolff, is to be constructed in Japan as a hotel and tourist attraction. Proposals by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship have so far come to nothing.


FBM BIRKENHEAD PLANS by Gary Andrews

FBM Marine has taken over part of the former Cammell Laird yard at Birkenhead, where it plans to produce high-speed ferries. The company, which also has construction yards in the Isle of Wight and the Philippines, is currently bidding for orders, but management is optimistic that work will be secured within three months.

FBM is leasing the site from owners GEC Marconi, but the firm is playing down how many new jobs will be created by the venture. However, they say an order for one of their 70-metre catamaran designs could result in work for up to 300 people. The Laird's yard has stood idle since warship production under VSEL ceased in 1993. John Warbey, FBM managing director, said:

"Everything is proceeding as can be expected. There are no firm orders in yet, but we are in negotiations for a number of vessels that would go into the Laird's site. We are feeling relatively optimistic that orders will come in the next three months. It is much too early to say how many jobs can be created. We are not talking about a jobs boom. To start with it could create a few hundred. Only after we get the orders in will it build up.

"The emphasis at this stage is to get work into there and to begin building our high-speed craft. There is a lot of competition from places such as Australia and getting new work into a new yard can take time. The market for these vessels is a consolidating one. It is expected to grow in other areas, such as freight, and the market for replacement craft will continue to be there."

In 1996 the northern part of the massive Birkenhead site was sold to a ship repair company, which also bought the right to use the famous Cammell Laird name. The firm is fast building a reputation as one of the top cruise liner conversion specialists in Europe. Its pre-tax profits rose by 147% to £10.4m in the last financial year and it is also part of a consortium led by French defence giant Thompson CSF to land the contract to build two aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy. In September, Cammell Laird broke into the luxury yacht market and acquired the Camper and Nicholson name along with 160 employees at their Gosport base. The manufacturing and repair business was valued at £632,000 and the land at Gosport at £2m.

FBM is letting surplus parts of its part of the yard to specialist firms in a bid to create a centre of excellence for marine engineering. John Warbey said:

"We see ourselves as not just promoting a return to ship building, but also as a facilitator for other work."

CAMMELL LAIRD NEWS by Gary Andrews

Cammell Laird has announced that it wishes to build cruise liners at its Birkenhead yard. The firm currently repairs and refits ships at the yard and employs around 700 people. The yard is in talks with the Government to drop current barriers to shipbuilding in order to make it viable for them to build cruise ships on the Mersey.

Meanwhile union leaders from Cammell Laird's Tyneside yard are lobbying the Ministry Of Defence to get the contract for it's planned order for six roll-on, roll-off ferries to secure 6,000 jobs at the yard. The Ministry of Defence is reported to also be considering offers from abroad with particularly attractive packages understood to have been submitted by Korean shipyards.

MARITIME SEARCH ENGINE by Gary Andrews


A World Maritime Search Engine has recently been developed at http://youcame.to/maritime.

The World Maritime Search engine, part of the Youcame. To Network, holds the addresses of web sites that only deal with maritime interests worldwide: shipping, shipbuilding, ports, ship repairing, the sea, ferries etc. The engine is not tethered to a particular geographical area either, giving you sites from all round the globe.

The makers of the site hope to update the World Maritime Search Engine as often as possible to ensure new pages are always being added.

The site works pretty much like any web search engine such as Yahoo except this site is more useful as it deals specifically with maritime websites. Just enter the keywords in the search box and press search - simple!

If you would like to add your site - simply fill in your URL and your email address on the Add URL page at the World Maritime Search Engine. Whilst the search engine is still very much in it's early days, it shows great potential of what will become the Yahoo of the maritime world. If you have a shipping/maritime website I would certainly recommend registering with the site.

TITANIC

Around twelve months ago M&ISS reported on several plans to build replica's of the White Star Line's Titanic, probably to cash in on the spin off from the hugely successful, though in many ways very inaccurate, portrayal of the Titanic disaster in the James Cameron movie.

Last week the Sunday Times reported that a replica of the ship is not to be constructed at Harland and Wolf's in Belfast as had been rumoured last year. Now a replica of the TITANIC, the city's most famous ship, is to be built in Japan as a hotel and tourist attraction.

The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its atrium and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal. The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its atrium and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal. The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its atrium and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

 

 


Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal. The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its atrium and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal. The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its atrium and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal. The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its atrium and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal. The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its atrium and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal. The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its atrium and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal. The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its atrium and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal. 
The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with
its atrium and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal. The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its atrium and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal. 
The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its atrium
and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal. 
The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its atrium
and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal. 
The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its atrium
and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal. 
The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its atrium
and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal. 
The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its atrium
and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal. 
The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its atrium
and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal. 
The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its atrium
and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal. The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its atrium and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal. The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its atrium and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal. The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its atrium and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal. The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its atrium and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal.  and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal.  The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its atrium and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal.  and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal.  The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its The full-scale replica of the 882ft-long vessel is to be berthed in Tokyo Bay and used as an 800-room hotel and conference centre. A subsidiary of the Hitachi Corporation, which has been working on the project for two years, is finalising the funding of $160m and plans to begin construction next year.

The replica will be built on a concrete base already constructed below the water line in the bay. The design will closely follow that of the Belfast shipbuilder who constructed the original. The four funnels, the grand staircase with its atrium and the luxurious dining room with hand-carved woodwork and stained glass will all be reproduced. Staff will wear period costumes.

The hotel's bedrooms will be based on first-class cabin accommodation and there will be no third class or crew quarters. The three huge engines will be copied in plastic, and two large gates on the seaward side will allow small boats to enter a marina in the hull.

Yamauchi, a company that specialises in marine developments, after James Cameron's epic film Titanic broke box office records in Japan, proposed the project. The company had considered  buying the Queen Mary and transporting it to Japan, but the ship, was not seaworthy.

Five years ago another Japanese consortium proposed building a floating replica of the ship on the island of Hokkaido, but the plan was abandoned after an earthquake destroyed a large section of the harbour.

John Martin, a shipbuilding consultant from Co Armagh who has been involved in the project, said: "It is my understanding that the necessary funding has been secured and the project could receive approval within a matter of weeks." Fujita Hideaka, a director with the company, confirmed that the project was at "an advanced stage".

News of the plan was greeted with despair in Belfast, where Titanic buffs have been campaigning for the city to capitalise on its involvement with the vessel. Apart from a monument in the grounds of the City Hall, Belfast has no memorial to the 1,500 people who died when the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.

A seminar will be held at the City Hall on Friday to discuss ideas for exploiting the tourism potential of Belfast as the birthplace of the ship. Among the proposals is a plan by Harland and Wolff to build a replica of the ship as part of a £400m development called Titanic Quarter.

Dr Ian Adamson, a former lord mayor who has been campaigning for an annual Titanic Day, regretted that Belfast had not done more to commemorate those who died, and to honour those who built it. "It is a shame that we did not set the example. Belfast is the home of the Titanic and we should have done something before now to celebrate what was the greatest engineering feat of its day,'' Adamson said.

John Parkinson, 92, watched with his father, a carpenter who worked on the ship, as tugs pulled the Titanic out of Belfast Lough in 1912. Now president of the Ulster Titanic Society, he has spent most of his life campaigning to have a memorial built.

He said: "It would be very exciting to have a full-scale replica of the Titanic as it would help show people just what Belfast achieved more than 80 years ago. People tend to forget that it was not the fault of those who built her that she sank. It is a pity that it has taken someone thousands of miles away to come up with a project like this."

Mivan Marine, the Antrim-based ship outfitters, will tender for part of the project when it secures final approval. The company was paid £500,000 to carry out a feasibility study for the abandoned Hokkaido proposal. 

John Luxton

31 October 1999

23 OCTOBER 1999

 

NOTES & NEWS

This news bulletin has been posted earlier than usual as I will be away until Saturday 30th October. Next week the news Bulletin and site update should posted on Sunday at its usual time. However, there is just a possibility that I may not return home until the Sunday 31st October. If this is the case, the update will not be made until around 22.00 on Monday evening.

In addition to the News Bulletin there are several other updates - please check "What's New" .

Once again thanks to the many contributors to this week's update.

SEA CONTAINERS

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN: The day trip operated by this vessel from Douglas to Dublin on 18th October turned out to be somewhat longer than had been anticipated. The 18.45 return sailing from Douglas was forced to turn back to Dublin after heading northwards along the east coast of Ireland for around 2 hours after battling against high winds and rough seas.

When the vessel returned to Dublin after more than two hours at sea, passengers were given overnight hotel accommodation before being transferred to Holyhead where they arrived the following afternoon. A coach conveyed them to Morecambe where they were accommodated at a Hotel before being taken to Heysham port for the 02.15 sailing of the BEN-MY-CHREE. They finally arrived back at Douglas at 06.00 on Wednesday morning 46 hours after setting out!

According to a report in the Manx Independent Mrs. Lillian Smith a passenger interviewed by the paper, praised the company and its staff and said "It was a long one day trip, Where could you go for £25 where we've been?" ]However, there was some passenger criticism of a lack of communication about what was going on.] Passengers with vehicles had also been conveyed to Holyhead and given petrol vouchers to get to Heysham.

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN remained in Dublin until Friday when she was reported departing at 10.30 on her way to Douglas.

LADY OF MANN - operated the advertised 20.15 Douglas - Dublin sailing on Thursday and the return 01.30 charter sailing from Dublin to Douglas on Friday 22nd October. She then operated the 08.00 Douglas to Dublin service. The unadvertised charter from Dublin to the Isle of Man being operated by SCIOM

BEN-MY-CHREE - Whilst commencing the 09.00 sailing from Douglas to Heysham - the BEN struck the Victoria Pier. Manx Radio reported that there was a slight delay whilst the vessel was checked before continuing her voyage to Heysham.

 

SEA CO JOBS AVAILABLE

SeaCat Scotland has advertised recently for permanent Belfast based crew. The vacancies advertised are - First Officers Class 1/Class 2 (receiving £23,000 - £27,900 per annum), a Class 1 Chief Engineer (receiving £32,200 per annum) and an Electro Technical Officer (receiving £20,400 per annum). Staff will be employed by SeaCat Scotland Guernsey Ltd.


WINTER REFITS

A recent travel offer in the Daily Mail gives some indication of winter refit periods for Sea Containers' Irish Sea routes. On the Belfast - Heysham route there will be no service between 5 January and 16 March, no service on the Belfast - Stranraer route 5 January - 8 February and no service on the Liverpool - Dublin route 5 January - 17 February. The item stated there would be no Belfast - Troon service after 4 January but gave no indication of a re-start date. It certainly seems as though Sea Containers' technical department is going to have a very busy six weeks at the start of the New Year with most of the fast ferry fleet in dry-dock!

SUPERSEACAT TRIALS

The SUPERSEACAT THREE sailed from Liverpool to Heysham on 18 October at around 23.30. The reason for the sailing is assumed to be to allow for SUPERSEACAT berthing trails prior to the SUPERSEACAT TWO being introduced on the Belfast - Heysham route in March 2000. SUPERSEACAT THREE berthing trials are understood to have been carried out at Belfast and Stranraer on the night of 15 October/early hours of 16 October.

 

HOVERSPEED NEWS SPECIAL. by Gary Andrews

HOVERSPEED REPORT BOOKINGS BOOST FOLLOWING INTERNET REVAMP.

Hoverspeed is reaping the rewards of its new-look internet site, re-launched in June this year, with over 5000 bookings made via the web for its cross-Channel fast car ferry services. And to promote the new site, Hoverspeed's internet address - www.hoverspeed.co.uk - has been painted on the stern door of the company's twin hovercraft, THE PRINCESS MARGARET and THE PRINCESS ANNE.

The site is achieving an average of three million 'hits' per month, and is estimated to have generated an average of 63,000 visitors per month. The company is expecting to achieve a strong increase in e-bookings later this year with the introduction of full on-line booking. The Hoverspeed web site is currently available in English, French, Dutch, and German language versions, and provides information on travel, fares and schedules, shopping, company information, and special offers.

Steve Boffey, Hoverspeed marketing controller, said: "The internet is proving an excellent medium for Hoverspeed, and fits in well with our image for speed and convenience. As the site develops, we expect to see an even greater increase in bookings as e-travel becomes more and popular."

FOG HELPS HOVERCRAFT PILOTS STEER A SAFE COURSE.

The first fibre-optic gyrocompass (FOG) to receive approval from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has been installed on Hoverspeed's twin SRN4 MkIII hovercraft, THE PRINCESS MARGARET and THE PRINCESS ANNE.

Operating at speeds in excess of 50 knots, and offering passengers the fastest way to cross the Channel, the 30 year-old hovercraft have been continually updated over the years to feature some of the very latest high-tech navigational equipment.

As well as providing the three-man flight crew with details of the hovercraft's heading, the FOG compass is also able to give information on the roll and pitch of the craft, together with the rate of turn. The fibre-optic gyrocompass has no moving parts, is highly accurate, and boasts a short settling time compared with traditional gyrocompasses, making it ideal for use on the high-speed hovercraft.

Hoverspeed's Projects Captain Linton Heatley has overseen the installation of the new system. He said:

"The FOG compass further enhances the operational safety of the hovercraft. Combined with GPS satellite navigation and new radar systems introduced in 1996, the hovercraft is extremely well equipped to cope with the demands of transiting the busiest shipping lanes in the world."

There is, however, one thing still on the wish list of Hoverspeed's captains - an autopilot! In their thirty years of operation, the hovercraft have been flown manually throughout. According to Captain Heatley, the installation of the FOG compass brings that goal ever closer.

SEA CONTAINERS PLANS REMAIN UNCERTAIN by Gary Andrews

Last week it was reported that Sea Containers were continuing to state that the SUPERSEACAT FOUR would be used on their planned Brindisi-Cesme route. However, according to the French shipping paper 'Le Marin' of 15 October, Hoverspeed are advertising that the SUPERSEACAT FOUR will run the Newhaven - Dieppe service from next April (as widely assumed).

Meanwhile, regular correspondent, Geoff Hamer, has kindly provided an insight into the Brindisi - Cesme service which would suggest that it is highly unlikely such a route would ever be operated by a vessel such as the SUPERSEACAT FOUR.

Most people travelling between Italy and Turkey have a long drive to and from the ship and need a proper rest aboard - for example there are German "guest workers" and their families, and people travelling beyond Turkey. Passengers are generally not overly wealthy people and so are unlikely to pay a higher fare and the cost of a night in a hotel just to save a few hours at sea. Geoff Hamer travelled from Venice to Izmir last October on Turkish Maritime Lines' ANKARA and was surprised at the cosmopolitan passenger list, there were people speaking Russian, people with Armenian passports and he shared a cabin with a Syrian who had bought a bus and was driving it across Turkey back to Syria.

Sea Containers did suggest they wanted to take over Turkish Maritime Lines' Italian routes, but a decision on this was believed to be dependent on the internal political situation. The company is state-owned and runs a weekly year-round service from Izmir to Venice and summer services from Cesme to Brindisi. Three ships are used, the ANKARA, ISKENDERUN and SAMSUN; they are fairly well-fitted, with restaurant, cafeteria, three bars, swimming pool and cabins all with shower and wc, but are slow, doing about 16 knots. Other operators run in summer to Brindisi or Bari, but the season is very short and the ships are mostly small and elderly - i.e. with low capital costs, the exact opposite of the SUPERSEACAT FOUR. Most ro/ro freight goes to Trieste where there is a daily service (the DAWN MERCHANT was chartered for this last year).

HOVERSPEED TARGETS PREMIUM PASSENGERS by Gary Andrews

In a major upgrade of services for business and premium-paying passengers, Hoverspeed has announced major new investments in its '1st' service.

Reflecting trends within the airline industry, Hoverspeed is to redesign its cabin areas, significantly increasing space for premium-paying passengers. Work is already underway on the company's hovercraft, with capacity in '1st' increasing from 14 to 54 seats. Similar work will be undertaken across the entire fleet this winter, including SeaCat and SuperSeaCat vessels.

Ashore too, Hoverspeed will be adding new airport-style lounges for passengers travelling in '1st' from Dover to Calais and Ostend. The lounges will feature business centres. Passengers travelling '1st' will also have dedicated fast-track check-in, reserved parking, and priority boarding.

Hoverspeed managing director, Geoffrey Ede, said the new developments would enable the operator to concentrate on the more profitable sectors of the cross-Channel market, whilst catering for a niche which was largely neglected by both conventional operators and the Channel tunnel. Sea Containers did suggest they wanted to take over Turkish Maritime Lines' Italian routes, but a decision on this was believed to be dependent on the internal political situation. The company is state-owned and runs a weekly year-round service from Izmir to Venice and summer services from Cesme to Brindisi. Three ships are used, the ANKARA, ISKENDERUN and SAMSUN; they are fairly well-fitted, with restaurant, cafeteria, three bars, swimming pool and cabins all with shower and wc, but are slow, doing about 16 knots. Other operators run in summer to Brindisi or Bari, but the season is very short and the ships are mostly small and elderly - i.e. with low capital costs, the exact opposite of the SUPERSEACAT FOUR. Most ro/ro freight goes to Trieste where there is a daily service (the DAWN MERCHANT was chartered for this last year).

HOVERSPEED TARGETS PREMIUM PASSENGERS by Gary Andrews

In a major upgrade of services for business and premium-paying passengers, Hoverspeed has announced major new investments in its '1st' service.

Reflecting trends within the airline industry, Hoverspeed is to redesign its cabin areas, significantly increasing space for premium-paying passengers. Work is already underway on the company's hovercraft, with capacity in '1st' increasing from 14 to 54 seats. Similar work will be undertaken across the entire fleet this winter, including SeaCat and SuperSeaCat vessels.

Ashore too, Hoverspeed will be adding new airport-style lounges for passengers travelling in '1st' from Dover to Calais and Ostend. The lounges will feature business centres. Passengers travelling '1st' will also have dedicated fast-track check-in, reserved parking, and priority boarding.

Hoverspeed managing director, Geoffrey Ede, said the new developments would enable the operator to concentrate on the more profitable sectors of the cross-Channel market, whilst catering for a niche which was largely neglected by both conventional operators and the Channel tunnel. Sea Containers did suggest they wanted to take over Turkish Maritime Lines' Italian routes, but a decision on this was believed to be dependent on the internal political situation. The company is state-owned and runs a weekly year-round service from Izmir to Venice and summer services from Cesme to Brindisi. Three ships are used, the ANKARA, ISKENDERUN and SAMSUN; they are fairly well-fitted, with restaurant, cafeteria, three bars, swimming pool and cabins all with shower and wc, but are slow, doing about 16 knots. Other operators run in summer to Brindisi or Bari, but the season is very short and the ships are mostly small and elderly - i.e. with low capital costs, the exact opposite of the SUPERSEACAT FOUR. Most ro/ro freight goes to Trieste where there is a daily service (the DAWN MERCHANT was chartered for this last year).

HOVERSPEED TARGETS PREMIUM PASSENGERS by Gary Andrews

In a major upgrade of services for business and premium-paying passengers, Hoverspeed has announced major new investments in its '1st' service.

Reflecting trends within the airline industry, Hoverspeed is to redesign its cabin areas, significantly increasing space for premium-paying passengers. Work is already underway on the company's hovercraft, with capacity in '1st' increasing from 14 to 54 seats. Similar work will be undertaken across the entire fleet this winter, including SeaCat and SuperSeaCat vessels.

Ashore too, Hoverspeed will be adding new airport-style lounges for passengers travelling in '1st' from Dover to Calais and Ostend. The lounges will feature business centres. Passengers travelling '1st' will also have dedicated fast-track check-in, reserved parking, and priority boarding.

Hoverspeed managing director, Geoffrey Ede, said the new developments would enable the operator to concentrate on the more profitable sectors of the cross-Channel market, whilst catering for a niche which was largely neglected by both conventional operators and the Channel tunnel.

Mr Ede said:

"The demise of duty-free has provided us with an opportunity to re-evaluate our business, and to make the most of our reputation for speed and service. Hoverspeed has always offered a more personal level of service than its competitors, and these exciting new developments in '1st' will enable us to offer an unrivalled product for premium-paying passengers.

FOLKESTONE - OSTEND: On 19 October Hoverspeed's Dover - Ostend service operated from Folkestone due to work on the Dover linkspan which took around 28 hours.

ATLANTIC II: Despite recent reports of a Mediterranean charter for the ATLANTIC II it would appear that Hoverspeed, at least in the short term, still have a role for her and will be using her to provide additional sailings at Dover. The vessel is due to operate two daily roundtrips on the Dover - Calais route this weekend (22, 23 and 24 October) and next weekend (29, 30 and 31 October). The vessel is then expected to operate an additional   daily roundtrip on the Dover - Ostend route on the weekends of 5 - 7 November and 12 - 14 November. The additional sailings are believed to be in response to demand during school breaks.

 

STENA LINE

STENA INVICTA UPDATE. by Gary Andrews

I thank a regular correspondent for providing further details of Stena's plans for the STENA INVICTA during her forthcoming period on the Irish Sea.

The STENA INVICTA is provisionally scheduled for sailings on the Dublin - Holyhead route ex Holyhead at 06.00 and 18.00 and ex Dublin at 12.00 and 23.59. The vessel is due to enter service on 12 December alongside the STENA CHALLENGER in what Stena are describing as a boost to freight capacity due to expected demand during the pre Christmas and Millennium period.

However given the vessel can accommodate a mere 42 x 12 metre trailers (34 x 15 metre lorries) yet has a capacity for 320 cars and accommodation for 1,750 passengers it would seem more probable that Stena are determined to ensure that they have adequate capacity to cover for any problems encountered by Stena's Dun Laoghaire - Holyhead STENA EXPLORER HSS service.

The Christmas/New Year period of 1998/1999 is one that Stena would undoubtedly not wish to see repeated. Week ending 2 January 1999 saw 48 sailings out of 56 HSS sailings lost, whilst week ending 9 January 1999 -saw 31 sailings out of 41 HSS sailings lost.

Following her role providing "additional freight capacity", the STENA INVICTA will switch to full passenger mode. Early January onwards will see the vessel cover for the absence of the STENA EXPLORER. The first HSS will overhaul before moving to the Belfast - Stranraer route to allow the STENA VOYAGER to go to refit (indicating that previous experience has shown Stena that the North Channel route cannot be left without an HSS service). When the STENA EXPLORER has completed Stranraer duties she will return to Holyhead, allowing the STENA CHALLENGER to be dry-docked. Upon the return of the STENA CHALLENGER it is understood that the STENA INVICTA's Dublin - Holyhead duties will end.

LAST WEEK I managed to repeat a false story that the STENA INVICTA has been laid up in Dunkirk, she has of course been laid-up in Zeebrugge for more than a year!

STENA LINE ESTABLISHES NEW ORGANISATION FOR ONBOARD SERVICES.

Stena Line has re-structured its retail and purchasing organisation throughout the Group to meet new business demands following the abolition of duty free sales. The new situation has led to Stena's retail shops competing directly with the diverse range of retail outlets in the domestic market place.

By setting up this new retail and purchasing organisation, Stena Line hope to be able to compete more effectively and move its business forward in terms of retail product development.

Operations in the UK, Holland and Scandinavia are now represented by one international management structure called Onboard Services International. The revised organisation combines purchasing and retail sales in one organisation, thus optimising the purchasing power of the Stena Line Group. The management team will be able to develop all aspects of corporate retail brands for the future. Claes Stigne, Director of Onboard Services International at Stena Line commented:

"Stena Line is seriously committed to revitalising its retail activities by providing attractive shopping opportunities in retail outlets with consistent brand personality."

Within the new co-ordinated retail and purchasing organisation managers onboard will have improved opportunity to develop their skills participating in a diverse international management environment. The new structure will be headed by Stuart Rourke, General Manager, Retail Shops and Logistics - based in the UK. He will have the responsibility for developing the retail brand and will report directly to the Director of Onboard Services. Charlie Föhrenbach, Purchasing and Retail Manager, based in Goteborg will hold the senior purchasing position in the new organisation.

VOYAGER CANCELLATIONS:

Due to maintenance, the STENA VOYAGER sailings at 0250 from Belfast and at 0515 from Stranraer on 21 October were cancelled.

STENA CHANGES:

There have been a few further changes to Stena Line's Irish Sea management team. Nigel Cureton, Route Director Irish Sea, is retiring (or may have already done so), as have Andrew McPherson (Holyhead manager) and Liz Stone (Fishguard manager).

LYNX CANCELLED:

Brian Chambers reports that STENA LYNX III sailings on the Rosslare - Fishguard route on 21 October were cancelled due to poor weather conditions. Visit Brian's Rosslare Europort website, which includes photos, information and details of how to join his mailing list. /. STENA EXPLORER Holyhead - Dun Laoghaire sailings were subject to delays and cancellations on 20 and 21 October whilst Irish Ferries' Holyhead - Dublin JONATHAN SWIFT sailings were affected on 21 October.

CENARGO: MERCHANT FERRIES [NORSE IRISH FERRIES]

The MERSEY VIKING visited Cammell Laird at Birkenhead this week, it is unclear the reason for the visit. Cenargo's Belfast - Liverpool vessel was due to depart the yard at 08.00 on 21 October for river trials and presumably a re-entry into service. During her absence her place was taken by the SAGA MOON, recently replaced on the Merchant Ferries Heysham - Dublin route by the VARBOLA. Obviously the passenger and car services offered by the MERSEY VIKING were suspended during this period. The use of the SAGA MOON on the Belfast - Liverpool route illustrates the incorporation of the Norse Irish Ferries Belfast - Liverpool route into the Cenargo Irish Sea route network.

FARE OFFERS

From 1st November to 9th January, Merchant Ferries are offering a very good deal on fares to Dublin from Liverpool with   Car and 4 passengers returns from  £108 and foot passengers from £28 return. The offer booking code is LPI. The company states in the new newspaper advertisement "There is only one service that you can rely on to get you there." There is a lot of truth in this in this comment as company does have an excellent reliability record.

If there are any shipping enthusiasts who have not yet taken a trip with Merchant I strongly recommend that you do. Merchant Ferries web site: http://www.merchant-ferries.com/

IRISH FERRIES by Gary Andrews

It would appear that Irish Ferries will charter the NORMANDY in 2000 despite earlier indications to the contrary. It is understood various vessels were looked at, but no decisions were made and that she will meet all appropriate regulations until 2001.

COMMODORE-CONDOR FERRIES by Gary Andrews

The BEN-MY-CHREE's sister, Commodore's COMMODORE CLIPPER formally entered ro-pax service on 18 October and will offer a daily weekday roundtrip trip on the Portsmouth - Guernsey and Jersey route. The vessel has been operating in a freight only role, though it is understood she did carry passengers on at least one occasion when Condor's high speed service was cancelled due to poor weather conditions. It is not clear what the future holds for the HAVELET, the vessel that previously offered all weather backup to Condor's operations.

PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL STEAM NAVIGATION CO.

EUROPEAN ENVOY - on the morning of Saturday 23 October EUROPEAN ENVOY undocked from Gladstone and instead of heading directly to Dublin was seen to head up river towards Cammell Laird before swinging to port near Woodside before turning to port and heading down river and off to Dublin. Whilst I observed this from Monk's Ferry, Adrian Sweeney viewed the EUROPEAN ENVOY from the Pier Head and informs me that some form of photoshoot was in progress.

JETLINER - Following her visit to Harland and Wolff, Belfast, last week, P&O's JETLINER appears to be operating successfully on the Larne - Cairnryan route. Recent observations of the craft suggest she is running perfectly, completing crossings in the scheduled sixty minutes or sometimes slightly less.

NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM - CORNWALL

Construction of the National Maritime Museum out station is due to commence soon at Falmouth, Cornwall.

This week it was announced that all agreements are now in place for the £25 million museum and commercial development which will complement the project at Port Pendennis.

The new museum building, designed by architects Long & Kentish, will be the centrepiece of the redevelopment of the site where it is also planned to have a shops, restaurants and a multi-screen cinema.

The first building contract will be placed within a week and work will start next month with the museum due to open in just over two years.

Museum director Peter Cowling said: "This is an important day not just for Falmouth, but for the whole region. The depth and quality of visitor attractions in Cornwall is improving all the time; the Tate St Ives has shown how important this is to the region’s economy."

"The Falmouth development will create 70 new jobs on site and the equivalent of 300 new jobs in the surrounding area."

The new museum will house the collection of 120 boats of national importance donated by the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich and will become the new home for the complete collections of the existing Cornwall Maritime Museum which is currently based in cramped conditions in Bells Court, Falmouth. The museum will also incorporate a lecture theatre, a library, an education centre and a cafe.

The project has been financed by £10 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £4.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund and the Single Regeneration Budget, £3.7 million from the South West of England Regional Development Agency and private money from a local business consortium. The Museum Trust will be raising £800,000 as its contribution.

WHITE STAR LINE

NEW BOOK: IRON CLIPPER - TAYLEUR - The White Star Line's First Titanic

In February 1996 I recall a talk given at the Merseyside Branch of the World Ship Society on the White Star clipper TAYLEUR delivered by Bert Starkey. Unlike most WSS branch lectures, it was unaccompanied by the usual slide show. Not surprising as at the time of its sinking photography was only in its infancy. However, despite the lack of visual support the story of the TAYLEUR proved to be very interesting and certainly left the audience with food for thought.

Now local maritime and local history publisher Avid Publications has published a history of this noteworthy vessel entitled "Iron Clipper - Tayleur - The White Star Line's first Titanic" written by H.F. Starkey. The vessel, built at Warrington was wrecked on the shore of Lambay Island, near Dublin on her maiden voyage.

The book tells the story of the first White Star liner to be lost on her maiden voyage. The cover blurb continues:

"The TAYLEUR tragedy of 1854 and the TITANIC catastrophe of 1912 are disasters which have so much in common that the many coincidences make this book appear to be a work which is stranger than fiction.

*       Both vessels were registered at the Port of Liverpool and operated by the White Star Line.

*       Each was described as the largest, the fastest and the most comfortable passenger vessel ever built.

*       They were both lauded as the strongest-built vessels of their time.

*       Both vessels were on their maiden voyage.

*       Both were designed with watertight compartments and considered the safest ships afloat.

*       Each ship was carrying hundreds of emigrants to new lives in distant lands.

*       The lifeboats were unable to cope with disaster when it struck.

*       The wrecks of each of the vessels remained undetected for many years.

*       Each event prompted shipping companies to adopt additional safety procedures.

The reason for the sinking of the TITANIC is well known but there are many mysteries surrounding the loss of the TAYLEUR.

*       Why did she run onto rocks only a hundred miles into her maiden voyage to Australia?

*       Where her captain and crew incompetent?

*       Were design faults responsible for the loss of the ship?

*       Did the cargo cause false compass readings or was the vessel lost through malfunctioning of the gear?

"Iron Clipper" is an intriguing story of hope, bravery, incompetence and horror. It graphically illustrates an event that foreshadowed the more famous TITANIC disaster half a century later"

[Visit the Avid Publications web site: http://www.avidpublications.co.uk/]

Obviously the book makes much of the connections between the TAYLEUR and the TITANIC but is nevertheless an important addition to the collection of works covering shipping in the Irish Sea. The TAYLEUR wreck was brought to public attention again earlier this year when the vessel's kedge anchor, was unveiled as a memorial at Portrane near Dublin. Another anchor from the vessel is on display at Rush a few miles away, whilst other artefacts are displayed at the National Maritime Museum at Dún Laoghaire.

TITANIC WATCH

Continuing the White Star Line theme came the announcement in the Merseyside press that a Liverpool sailor's watch which survived the foundering of the RMS TITANIC has gone on display at the Merseyside Maritime Museum.

The watch belonged to steward Thomas Hewitt who died in the disaster. However, he managed to hand his watch on to a stewardess who survived. The watch then found its way back to his wife Ada.

Thomas Hewitt's fob watch along with that belonging to his wife have been donated to the Mersey Maritime Museum by the couples grandchildren.

 

 

18 OCTOBER 1999

LATE NEWS UPDATE

SEA CONTAINERS

SUPERSEACAT THREE sailed from Liverpool to Heysham on Monday 18th October at around 23.30. The reason for the sailing is not yet known, but it would be reasonable to assume that it is for berthing trails prior to an MDV1200 SuperSeaCat being deployed on the North Channel - Heysham to Belfast route.

CAMMELL LAIRD

PEREGRINE VII will be renamed DEEPSEA NAVIGATOR before she departs from the yard.

 


17 OCTOBER 1999

NOTES & NEWS

Apologies for the slightly later than usual upload this week. Please ensure you check the WHAT'S NEW page to access all the updates which include contributions to the galleries from readers as well as updates to the links pages, Marine Radio listings etc.

Next week the M&ISS News Bulletin will be posted on Saturday as I will be away the following week. Once again can I thank the many contributors and correspondents who have sent material again this week.

SEA CONTAINERS

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN. Since the end of September the vessel has seen less intensive use as the 1999 season winds down. This week with the approaching school half terms and the bank holiday in Ireland she sees more intensive use:

On Monday 18th October SCIOM operates a Douglas to Dublin day trip.

On Thursday 21st October she sails to Dublin from Douglas at 20.15 (scheduled) and again on Friday morning at 08.00. The two workings back from Dublin on Friday at 01.30 and 11.30 are charter sailings and do not appear on the public timetable schedule. She then sails from Douglas for Liverpool at 15.30 with the return departure at 19.00.

On Saturday 23 she is does two round trips to Liverpool out at 07.30 and 15.30 and returns from Liverpool at 1200 and 1900. On 25th October she sails from Dublin at 17.30 and on the 26th at 11.30, these being balancing sailings from the return Irish bank holiday weekend charters.

SUPERSEACAT THREE: Paid a brief evening visit to the North Channel - more details in Gary Andrew's report below.

SUPERSEACAT SPECULATION: Hoverspeed's weekend-only winter schedule on the Newhaven to Dieppe route is to be extended to include Mondays. The Friday to Monday service using the SUPERSEACAT TWO will continue until the end of the year, when the service will close for six weeks for vessel refit. Newhaven hopes of using the SUPERSEACAT FOUR in 2000 have been dampened by a recent magazine interview with David Benson, Head of Ferries Sea Containers, which indicated that the SUPERSEACAT FOUR is to be used on the much spoken Brindisi-Cesme route. If the Newhaven service fails to receive the SUPERSEACAT FOUR it would appear unlikely that the SUPERSEACAT TWO will be released to operate Belfast - Heysham, also disappointing the Irish Sea operation.

ATLANTIC II: Sea Containers 74 metre Incat ATLANTIC II used this summer on the Dover - Calais route and at one stage thought to be Irish Sea bound would now appear to be heading for the Mediterranean. Although a purchase was spoken of, the craft is to be chartered to the unknown Greek operator following modifications on her engines that will take around a month.

ISLE OF MAN TRAFFIC INCREASES

Traffic figures on routes to the Isle of Man continue to show and increase reflected in the company's figures for September 1999.

Passengers in September showed an increase of 2.5% on the figure for the same period in 1998 from 56,876 to 58,272.

The year to date passenger figures have increased by almost 10% whilst car and motorcycle traffic increased by almost 4.5%.

Freight metreage increased by 10.6% from 28,197 to 31,190 metres figures described in a press release as amazing.

On the Liverpool to Dublin route new offers are being advertised in the press as part of the "Autumn Blast" promotion. Liverpool to Dublin Car plus 1 £109. Car plus 2 £129 and car plus unto 5 £149. Fares are for FOUR day returns [Booking Code DT/AB4] or a single journey [MP/AB4].

 SUPERSEACAT MODEL

Earlier this year I reviewed a SuperSeaCat model, which is available from the on board, shop on SSC3. At the time I commented that whilst this was an excellent product for children, perhaps something more suitable for adults should be made available.

Now available from the onboard shops is a resin cast model of a SuperSeaCat mounted on a polished wooden plinth. This attractive little model almost matches the layout of SUPERSEACAT ONE and SUPERSEACAT TWO. Obviously there have been some compromises windows where there shouldn't be and so on.

The rear of the upper saloon does not taper - being more akin, though not the same as SSC3. The fore and main masts are somewhat cut down. Accurate representation in resin would be quite fragile. The SuperSeaCat branding is on raised lettering. Unfortunately if there is one major criticism is the fitting of two conventional open lifeboats to the fo'csle painted bright red! Whilst it would have been difficult to place these in the real position due to the nature of the casting, perhaps omitting them would have been a better option.

Despite the criticisms this is still an attractive little model which should find its way onto many enthusiasts shelves given the very reasonable price of £4.99.

Now Sea Co how about models of an Incat, Lady of Man, and Ben-My-Chree? Also why not advertise them in the ship enthusiasts press? There is a shortage of decent ship models at realistic prices. Bus and rail enthusiasts have access to such a wide range surely there is scope for all shipping companies to exploit this market?

SEA CONTAINERS BELFAST ROUTES UPDATE by Gary Andrews

Clarification has now been received on sailing times for Sea Containers' Belfast - Stranraer route. Until 4 January the 14.15 sailing ex Belfast returns at 16.15 Tuesday - Thursday and 18.30 Friday to Monday. Friday to Monday also sees a 20.30 Belfast - Stranraer sailing, returning 05.30 (Saturday - Tuesday).

The SEACAT SCOTLAND operates all Belfast - Stranraer sailings and all Belfast - Troon sailings except the 18.15 ex Belfast and 21.30 ex Troon, Friday to Monday these sailings operated by the SEACAT DANMARK. Additionally, SEACAT DANMARK operates all Belfast - Heysham sailings. The Belfast-Heysham daily roundtrip at 07.00 ex Belfast and 12.00 ex Heysham due to finish on 1 November has been extended. From 5 November to 5 January 2000
the service will operate Friday to Monday.

Meanwhile following her arrival from the 16.00 sailing ex Dublin, the SUPERSEACAT THREE departed at 21.30 bound for Stranraer to operate a sailing to Belfast. The reason for the sailing is unclear. Even if the SEACAT SCOTLAND had technical problems the SEACAT DANMARK could easily have covered the sailing given that following her 21.30 sailing from Troon she would have been idle at Belfast until her 07.00 sailing to Heysham. It would have been easier again to simply transfer traffic to P&O or Stena. It would seem likely that the trip may have been to test the Belfast berth for compatibility with the SUPERSEACAT type of craft given the SUPERSEACAT TWO is rumoured to be allocated to operate the Belfast - Heysham route from Spring 2000. The SUPERSEACAT THREE was back at Liverpool in time to operate her 11.00 sailing to Dublin.

ARGYLL AND ANTRIM DISCUSSIONS CONTINUE by Gary Andrews

Discussions regarding the future of Sea Containers' Ballycastle - Campbeltown route continue, despite a hope that a decision would have already been reached before the end of last month.

It has been revealed that Sea Containers are to meet officials of the Northern Ireland Office before taking a decision on whether to withdraw from the service. A spokesman for Sea Containers, speaking this week, said: "We have already met officials in the Scottish Executive as part of our review of the Argyll/Antrim service and we will now be meeting their counterparts in the Northern Ireland Office but no date has been set yet for that meeting. An announcement will be made as soon as possible after that meeting."

However, tourist businesses in Kintyre are desperately seeking an early decision. Mr Bruce Urquhart of the Kintyre Marketing Group, which represents 150 small businesses on the peninsula said:

"Our brochures have to be at the printers this month and we still don't know whether we are going to have a service."

Meanwhile, Caledonian MacBrayne has tried to distance itself from speculation that it might take on the service if the current operators decide to withdraw. It insists it would need to be instructed by the Government to do so, a spokesman added that:

"CalMac's primary role is to provide essential ferry services to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. We are not in a position to bid for a potentially loss making route outside the undertaking, which is to provide such services."

 STENA LINE

STENA UPGRADE NORTH CHANNEL TERMINAL FACILITIES by Gary Andrews

Since Stena's Belfast - Stranraer HSS service began over three years ago, the route has been widely criticised for poor terminal facilities at Stranraer and a lack of progress at carrying out planned upgrades.

It appears that Stena have now pledged that they will go ahead with the new Stranraer terminal (more details as soon as I receive them). In the interim it appears that the firm has upgraded temporary facilities with a new portakabin type construction. One would wonder if Stena's sudden enthusiasm for upgrading their Scottish terminal is at least partly due to the splendid port upgrades which P&O have announced for Cairnryan and upon which work has already started. P&O's new look port at Cairnryan is expected to be operational by next summer.

Meanwhile work is currently taking place at Stena's Belfast terminal. The arrivals area, which was always ludicrously small, appears to be the subject of an upgrade. A new exit appears to be under construction from the baggage area and a further entrance appears to be in the process of being created into the arrivals area from the car park area. Having not visited Stena's Belfast terminal for around a year during my visit to the terminal on 12 October, I was amazed at how tired the terminal has become given the terminal is only approaching it's fourth year of use. Without intending to be biased the terminal they left at Larne (despite being built 10 years earlier) and still used by P&O European Ferries, appears in better condition. In particular, the floors of Stena's terminal appeared a bit "grubby" and the toilets were not clean. It should obviously be stressed that my visit to Stena's terminal reflected one day and one must bear in mind that any such facility can have a "bad day".

On 12 October, STENA VOYAGER sailings were running late due to "technical problems". The 1000 sailing ex Stranraer was approximately 20 minutes late whilst accumulated delays saw the 2200 sailing ex Belfast depart 50 minutes late. During my visit to the port around 2100 on 12 October freight levels appeared to be reasonable though rather lower than those that would be observed queued to travel to Cairnryan from Larne Harbour at the same time of the evening.

Meanwhile on a more positive note Stena have once again shown their ingenuity by offering Sunday Lunch aboard the STENA GALLOWAY whilst the vessel is berthed at Belfast. Prices appear to be very reasonable with very attractive deals for families. Contact Stena for more details.

INTERNAL ORGANISATIONAL CHANGES AT STENA by Gary Andrews

Stena Line is, with immediate effect, expanding its existing route-based organisational structure, which was introduced in 1998. The existing Republic of Ireland route organisation, currently responsible for running all the services between Wales and the Republic of Ireland, will be divided to form two route-based organisation structures, namely Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire/Dublin and Fishguard-Rosslare. Bo Severed, Stena CEO commented:

"Since its introduction in 1998, the route-based organisational structure has been successfully implemented within the company. The introduction of a dedicated Route Team for the Fishguard-Rosslare route will provide us with an even greater operational and commercial focus."

Mary Gallagher, currently Business Co-ordinator, has been appointed Route Director for Fishguard-Rosslare. A Route Director for Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire/Dublin will be appointed as soon as possible. In the interim period, Bo Severed will assume direct responsibility for the route.

STENA INVICTA: Stena Line (UK) is to charter the STENA INVICTA for three months to cover the New Year overhaul period of their Irish Sea fleet. Exact times and locations have not yet been revealed. The vessel has been laid up at Dunkirk since her charter to Silja ended in autumn 1998.
 

WATERLOO DOCK 

Mersey & Irish Sea Shipping readers who have been following the story of the opposition to the Pier Head terminal developments and who are also aware of the problems which led to the scrapping of the Trafalgar Dock on river ro/ro terminal scheme will be interested by the following which illustrates a certain amount of poetic justice!

As you may recall one of the most vociferous members of the anti Pier Head and ro/ro terminal campaigns were the Makerel family, residents of a Waterloo Dock apartment. This week they are in the papers again, being upset that new apartments are being built in front of their Waterloo Dock apartment!

This prompted me to send the following letters to both Liverpool Daily Post and Liverpool Echo, whether the letter appears is another thing but for the record it is reproduced below…

Re: Waterloo Dock Development

I read with interest the problems faced by Peter and Lorraine Mackarel concerning new building development spoiling their view from their Waterloo apartment. In normal circumstances perhaps one would not find it difficult to sympathise with them.

However, was it not this couple who were actively involved in campaigning against both the construction of a new terminal for Sea Containers Ferries at the Pier Head and also the establishment of a roll on roll off terminal at Trafalgar Dock for other Irish Sea services? Two developments which would have had significant benefits to the citizens and businesses of Merseyside.

As someone who was very much in favour of both port schemes I find a tremendous sense of justice in Mr and Mrs Makarel now finding a development problem literally in their own back yard and one which they appear powerless to stop!

Yours faithfully

John H. Luxton

DERRY - SCOTLAND FERRY SERVICE

RTÉ's excellent weekly maritime affairs programme Seascapes [Broadcast Thursdays 21.30] contained a review of the Port of Derry. Of particular interest was the comment that an "indigenous Irish company" was interested in operating a ro/ro service between Derry and Scotland. There has been much speculation about a new service between Derry and Scotland for sometime. The route was last operated by the long defunct Burns & Laird Line. Could the company referred to be Irish Ferries by any chance?

MERCHANT FERRIES

Merchant Ferries has chartered the Estonian Shipping Company's VARBOLA to operate the Heysham to Dublin service. She is a sister ship to Estonian Shipping Company's LEMBITU which was chartered during 1998 by P&O to operate on the Liverpool to Dublin service.

Of somewhat unusual appearance these recently constructed vessels do not at first glance look like ro/ro vessels. On Saturday 16 October VARBOLA was noted arriving at Dublin shortly after 15.00 with the morning sailing from Heysham. She was due to sail again for Heysham at 19.00.

PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL by Gary Andrews

P&O European Ferries have enhanced the recently introduced Larne - Fleetwood route daily sailings at 16.00 ex Larne and 03.00 ex Fleetwood, by replacing the MERCHANT VENTURE with the EUROPEAN NAVIGATOR. The vessel joins the EUROPEAN PIONEER and EUROPEAN SEAFARER, creating a total of up to three round trips per day.

It appears the EUROPEAN NAVIGATOR's first sailing in her new role was the 16.00 ex Larne on 11 October. With 42 berths and capacity for 70 trailers the new vessel significantly increases capacity over the 12 berth, 55 trailer capacity of the MERCHANT VENTURE on the service which only commenced operations on 8 September.

Phil Simpson, Sales Manager UK for P&O European Ferries commented: "We've been operating at full capacity on this service since day one and it became apparent very quickly that additional capacity was needed. The provision of the EUROPEAN NAVIGATOR gives us just the right kind of vessel with the right capacity needed for this hugely popular sailing, and also provides us with the ability to cope with the demand from the accompanied driver business."

The EUROPEAN NAVIGATOR was observed unloading at Larne on 14 October on arrival from her 03.00 sailing ex Fleetwood. Traffic appeared to be very healthy, especially for such a new service, and the level of driver accompanied traffic appeared to more than justify the use of the 'Navigator instead of the MERCHANT VENTURE.

It would appear the MERCHANT VENTURE is currently being used on the EUROPEAN NAVIGATOR's former sailings on the Larne - Cairnryan route (i.e. 13.30 ex Larne and 17.30 ex Cairnryan Tuesday - Friday and 22.00 ex Larne (Monday to Friday) and 03.30 ex Cairnryan (Tuesday to Saturday).

It remains to be seen how long the MERCHANT VENTURE remains on the Cairnryan route. It would appear sensible that if she can be accommodated at Ardrossan to use her on the Tuesday - Friday daytime roundtrip on the Larne - Ardrossan route on which most freight is unaccompanied. This would allow the EUROPEAN ENDEAVOUR and EUROPEAN TRADER to again be used full-time on Larne - Cairnryan, their drive-through arrangements and larger driver capacities being welcome on the 13.30 ex Larne and 17.30 ex Cairnryan (already operated by the EUROPEAN TRADER on Mondays). The MERCHANT VENTURE could continue to be used on the 22.00 Larne - Cairnryan sailing and 03.30 return. The 22.00 sailing ex Larne is particularly suitable as with a 21.45 EUROPEAN TRADER or EUROPEAN ENDEAVOUR sailing to Cairnryan driver capacity isn't a problem and the 03.30 sailing would appear to already carry mainly unaccompanied traffic.

The EUROPEAN NAVIGATOR should prove a very successful vessel on the Larne - Fleetwood route having been used on the service full time for a considerable number of years following being transferred to Pandoro in 1986.

JETLINER: P&O European Ferries Larne - Cairnryan JETLINER service was suspended on 12, 13 and 14 October for planned maintenance. The vessel was observed at Harland & Wolff, Belfast on 12 October and it is understood the JETLINER was receiving some type of "pump" [water jet?] attention. It is believed the JETLINER returned to service with her 0600 sailing ex Larne on 15 October.

ROSSLARE EUROPORT YOKOHAMA FENDERS

Brain Chambers who runs the excellent Rosslare Europort Web Site http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/Set/2982/ and Marine News Mailing list carried the following interesting article in his news letter dated 06 October 1999:


YOKOHAMA PNEUMATIC FLOATING FENDERS

Over the past few days a company called "Fender Care" were working in Rosslare Port repairing the "Yokohama Fenders" along the Quay wall, the "Yokohama Pneumatic Floating Fender" was first manufactured in 1958, originally to replace whales between factory whaling ships.

Subsequently, the "Yokohama Pneumatic Floating Fenders" came to be widely used as the fender for berthing structures, as well as in ship-to-ship service.

The Yokohama pneumatic floating fender is a cylindrical air bag with hemispherical heads at both ends. Basic body construction consists of an outer rubber layer, cord layers and an inner rubber layer. The outer rubber protects the cord layers and inner layer from abrasion and other external forces. This compound has sufficient tensile and tear strength to withstand any weather condition and hard usage. Cord layers are arranged at ideal angles to hold the pressure and distribute the stress evenly. The inner rubber layer seals the air inside, utilising a compound equivalent to that of the liner or tube of the automobile tyre. One or two flange openings are at either or both ends for convenience of air charge and other purposes e.g. water ballasting. 

B&I JET FOIL by Brian Chambers

In the past few years fast ferries have become a familiar feature on the Irish Sea. However, the products of Finn Yards, Incat and Fincantieri were by no means the first such vessels. In a recent newsletter Brian Chambers writes of the 1978 order by B&I Line for a Boeing jetfoil:

"In 1978 the B&I ordered a Jetfoil from Boeing, and the vessel was delivered to the company in Seattle in Jan 1980. Having being transported across the Atlantic on board a cargo vessel the Jetfoil named "CU NA MARA", (Hound of the Sea) commenced service between Dublin and Liverpool in June 1980.

New terminals were constructed at either side of the Irish Sea, the Dublin terminal on Custom House Quay, and the Liverpool one at the Prince`s Landing Stage to near the Royal Liver Buildings. [The terminal building, which remains on the Mersey Ferries section of the landing stage, is now the base for Mersey Inshore Rescue Service. JHL].

The time taken for the journey was three hours ten minutes, and during the summer of 1980 and 1981 two crossings per day in each direction were operated.

With the onset of a further economic depression resulting in depressed levels for air and sea passenger fares, the service was suspended at the end of 1981. [From what I can remember, the service also suffered from the usual problems encountered by fast ferries - bad weather! - JHL]

RAMSEY STEAMSHIP COMPANY

The Ramsey Steamship Company is acquiring a new vessel for its fleet, which will be named BEN VARREY [IV]. The name translated from Gaelic means Girl of the Sea or "Mermaid". She will be the fourth vessel to carry the name since the company was founded in 1913.

The BEN VARREY is due to arrive at its homeport of Ramsey next Friday. Built in the Netherlands in 1986 the vessel will become the largest vessel in the fleet capable of carrying a full cargo of 1,500 tonnes compared to a maximum of 800 tonnes of the present vessels.

 ISLE OF MAN SHIPPING DIARY

Readers of the Manx Independent newspaper will be familiar with Fred Kissack's Shipping Movements Diary published in the paper each week. Fred's Diary is now available on-line as "Shipping Notes from the Isle of Man" and will be updated each Monday [The paper is published Thursday thus there is an advantage to reading it on-line.] The URL is: http://www.shipinfo-iom.ic24.net/

SEVERN PRINCESS CAR FERRY

The project to rescue and restore the last River Severn Car Ferry - SEVERN PRINCESS is reported to be going from strength to strength. Now back home and afloat in Chepstow, restoration is underway. The supporting web site has been updated and can be accessed at: http://www.btinternet.com/~burtonvilla/princess.htm
 

LIVERPOOL ECHO

From time to time I have been a critic of the Liverpool Echo and its morning counterpart the Daily Post for its inaccuracies in reporting transport matters. However, praise is now due to the paper for publishing lists of vessels working in the port of Liverpool.

From Monday 11 October a table has appeared on the business page showing ships working in the port at 08.00 plus details of if the vessels are sailing am or p.m. plus origin/destination. The table includes the Landing Stage. This is a welcome addition for anyone interested in the local shipping scene and which harks back to the days when ship arrivals and departures on Merseyside were regularly listed in the local press.

Well done Echo - keep it up!

MIKE GOODWYN - MANX ELECTRIC RAILWAY SOCIETY

I understand that Mike Goodwyn died last Monday, 11th October. Mr. Goodwyn, was very much the driving force behind the Manx Electric Railway Society, the organisation responsible for publishing the journal Manx Transport Review and a number of books on transport on Isle of Man.

Over the years almost all Isle of Man transport operators have been subject to Mr Goodwyn's acidic style, occasionally deservedly. Of course the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company and Sea Containers were very much in the firing line!

Mr. Goodwyn's book, "Is this Any Way to Run a Shipping Line" - though published over 10 years ago and still available is an interesting and detailed account of the troubles facing the old Isle of Man Steam Packet Company which led to the merger with the Sea Containers owned Manxline in 1986.

Whilst very pro much a pro-Manxline publication it remains interesting reading for anyone interested in the background to Sea Containers involvement in the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company and Sea Co's subsequent take-over of the company in 1996.

Whilst many will not have agreed with many of his views, and I must admit I certainly didn't, his comments were difficult to ignore.

John Luxton

17 October 1999

 

 

NOTES & NEWS

I am posting another update to catch up with the ferry news following the earlier than usual update last Thursday. This is due to the fact I have been in the Isle of Man this weekend. There is one new gallery page provided as it is of news interest - the Incat 053. This can be accessed from this news page on the main site [not the archive site].

The next main update will be on Sunday October 17th and should comprise, more gallery page, including readers' contributions.

It has come to my attention from several sources that a number of former M&ISS readers think that the site is defunct. Unfortunately some regulars lost track of the site when it was deleted from the MerseyWorld directory. [This also managed to coincide with the ISP changing the URL!] Unfortunately, as the site costs quite a lot to run now I just couldn't justify the expense of maintaining an entry in Mersey World after the free period. If you know of anyone who cannot gain access please let them know the present URL.

SEA CONTAINERS

BEN-MY-CHREE: Glass screens enclosing the front and sides of the BEN-MY-CHREE's observation deck are now in position. They are about 7 ft high and at an angle of around 70 degrees to the deck to deflect wind over the top. Having observed the vessel arrive at Douglas on 9th October they do appear to offer significant protection. Hopefully they will be kept clean to for photographic purposes!

Ben fans will be interested to know that her sister COMMODORE CLIPPER made her first passenger run to the Channel Islands on 1st October. It had been the intention to operate her in freight only mode until mid October, but cancellation of the Condor High Speed service resulted in her carrying passengers much earlier.

HOVERSPEED CHOSEN AS OFFICIAL OPERATOR by Gary Andrews

Hoverspeed is to be featured in the new 2000 official holiday guide of Disneyland Paris. With the widest choice of cross-Channel routes to France, including services from Dover to Calais, Folkestone to Boulogne, and Newhaven to Dieppe, Hoverspeed also offers one of the fastest ways to reach Disneyland Paris.

The news comes hot on the heels of Disney's announcement last week that it is to build a second theme park adjacent to Disneyland Paris - the Disney Studios - due to open in 2002, and offering visitors an insight into the world of movie making, animation and television production.

Hoverspeed already offers short breaks to Disneyland Paris as part of its programme with Allez France, with prices from £69 per person, including return travel, two nights accommodation, and a day's park admission.


IRISH FERRIES by Gary Andrews

Following months of protracted negotiations, arguments and the recent 24 hour unofficial strike, Irish Ferries and ferry workers union SIPTU were due to go to the Irish Labour Court on 4 October for a full hearing of the "Inishmore rape case".

SEATRUCK FERRIES by Gary Andrews

Seatruck Ferries, operator of the Warrenpoint - Heysham freight ferry service, continues to report strong traffic growth.

This year has seen a growth in traffic of around 10 - 12%, with capacity loads common. The increase in traffic on the route, operated by the RIVERDANCE and MOONDANCE, is partly attributable to both vessels having their internal lift replaced by an internal ramp at the beginning of the
year by Cammell Laird. This work has seen turnaround times fall from an average of 5 hours to 2.5 hours allowing more traffic to be carried due to the ease of carrying full loads yet sticking to sailing schedules.

Warrenpoint's unique location means the service taps in on something of a niche market, saving lengthy drives for hauliers in the Irish Midlands to Dublin, Belfast or Larne and frequently demand outstrips capacity. Warrenpoint Harbour Authority's success is also testament to this, with record profits recently being reported and traffic levels approaching the high levels reached at the peak of Merchant Ferries success at Warrenpoint.

Meanwhile the Warrenpoint - Heysham service has established a firm reputation for reliability with no sailings lost since the start of 1999 for any reason, weather or technical. With traffic increasing and excellent reliability no doubt some firms would be envious of Seatruck's success!

MERCHANT FERRIES

Take-over complete, Norse Irish Ferries is now fully owned by Merchant Ferries parent company Cenargo. Cenargo now operate the Irish Sea routes of Belfast - Liverpool, Belfast - Heysham, Dublin - Heysham and Dublin - Liverpool. Meanwhile, Belfast Freight Ferries, acquired by Cenargo early in
1998, has now been fully integrated into Merchant Ferries. It is not clear whether Merchant Ferries will be adopted as the brand name for the Belfast - Liverpool route.

A number of personnel developments have been announced in the wake of the take-over. Norse Irish Ferries Managing Director, Phil Shepherd is now a
director of Merchant Ferries. Meanwhile, Alan Peacock, formerly General Manager of Belfast Freight Ferries, is now Sales Director of Merchant Ferries and responsible for the Heysham - Belfast route. The intention is to establish a single Irish Sea organisation as soon as possible under Simon Taylor (ex Dart Line ex Sally) as Managing Director based in Belfast.

There is no immediate plan to replace the Norse Irish ships with the next two Merchant Ferries ro-pax newbuilds. However, it has emerged that it is unlikely that the purchase option will be exercised on the MERSEY VIKING and LAGAN VIKING of Norse Irish Ferries. This would suggest that the current vessels will be retained in the immediate term with the possibility of eventually being replaced by the sister vessels to the BRAVE MERCHANT and DAWN MERCHANT.

PENINSULAR & ORIENTAL by Gary Andrews

The EUROPEAN NAVIGATOR once again operated in place of the EUROPEAN SEAFARER on her Saturday evening sailing ex Larne on 2 October and Sunday morning sailing ex Fleetwood on 3 October. It is understood this occasional exercise is to allow for maintenance aboard the EUROPEAN
SEAFARER.

STENA LINE

HSS PROBLEMS CONTINUE: Technical problems with the HSS STENA EXPLORER on Stena Line's Holyhead - Dun Laoghaire route continue. Due to maintenance on the vessel, a number of sailings on 11 and 12 October are cancelled.

LIVERPOOL NAUTICAL RESEARCH SOCIETY

The LNRS has published its October journal "The Bulletin". The main article, written by Society Secretary John Shepherd, is a detailed account of the stranding of the CHARLES LIVINGSTON - the Liverpool No.1 pilot vessel on 26th November 1939 with the loss of 23 crew and the subsequent enquiry.

Other articles in the October edition of "The Bulletin" include: "Ships of the Larrinaga Shipping Company" by David Eccles. "Forgotten Liners of Liverpool 8: The Empress of Britain of 1906" and "Manifests". The Society's next  meetings will be:

Ocean Weather & Climate by G. Alcock on 21st October.

From Queen Elizabeth to King Orry by John Shepherd on 18th November.

Meetings are held at the Merseyside Maritime Museum at 12.30.

Isle of Man Steam Packet enthusiasts will be interested to know that the next edition of "The Bulletin" will had a lead article by Ron Evans on the loss of the ELLAN VANNIN ninety years ago on 3rd December 1909.

To receive Further details of the LNRS, and a specimen copy of "The Bulletin" please contact the editor, John Shepherd, at kingorry@globalnet.co.uk.

P.S. WAVERLEY

Tender returns for the WAVERLEY rebuild were due from ship yards on 4th October 1999. There is reported to be keen interest from yards around the UK. It is understood that one of these yards is on Merseyside. Perhaps we might just see the world's last sea-going paddle steamer here on Merseyside again?
 

OTHER FERRY NEWS

INCAT 053

Michael Pryce has forwarded notes and photographs of the new Incat 053 -  BENCHIJIGUA EXPRESS. The 96-metre Incat 053 was launched on 18th September 1999 from Incat Tasmania's Coverdales shipbuilding facility near Hobart, Tasmania. Completed as BENCHIJIGUA EXPRESS, she ran trials on 25th and 26th September, and sailed from Hobart on her delivery voyage on 3rd October 1999.

She can carry up to 900 passengers, and is the latest version of the 96-metre "Evolution 10" class, also able to carry 330 truck lane metres of road truck freight. 

 

7 October

NOTES & NEWS

Once again a weekday update, made in anticipation of me being able to have a weekend on the Isle of Man. [Weather permitting]. There will be another news update on Monday evening. I also have some more photographic material - though these items may not appear until next weekend.

SEA CONTAINERS LTD

Following speculation in the previous bulletin it appears that the 74m Incat ATLANTIC II is laid up in Dover pending refit and further deployment.

Bad Weather Update

Further to the information in the last   bulletin concerning disruptions to services over the weekend 1 to 3 October.

BEN-MY-CHREE - There was a slight 20 minute delay on the Friday morning 09.00 departure, the other sailings operating on time. The BEN-MY-CHREE carried passengers on the 02.15 Saturday Heysham - Douglas  sailing that had been diverted from the cancelled 19.00 SEACAT ISLE OF MAN sailing from Liverpool. 

However, a report in the ISLE OF MAN EXAMINER suggests that the return sailing of the BEN-MY-CHREE to Douglas from Heysham was made at 11.55 [as opposed to 02.15] with the newspapers being flown to the island on Sunday morning.

LADY OF MANN - The ever reliable LADY certainly had a busy weekend. On her return from Dublin on Sunday evening, following a quick turn round at the Pier Head, she headed off to Douglas with the delayed 19.00 SEACAT ISLE OF MAN sailing. Arriving at Douglas at 04.30 on Monday morning she performed a quick turnaround heading off back to Liverpool, possibly with the intention of operating the 08.00 to Dublin should the SUPERSEACAT be weather bound. However, she was not required and proceeded to Alexandra Dock after a very busy few days.

ISLE OF MAN PASSENGER ARRIVALS

The annual passenger survey reveals a 4.1% increase in 1998 over the level reported for 1997. The total sea arrivals increased by 3.9% to 240,285 whilst air passenger arrivals increased 4.2% to 348,974.

Staying tourists increased for the sixth consecutive year. By air the figures showed an increase of 5%, sea arrivals revealed a very small reduction of 0.3%.

MERSEY FERRIES

Autumn and Early Winter special sailings operated by the Mersey Ferries are currently being promoted:

Children's Halloween Cruise - Sunday 31 October 1999

Operated by ROYAL DAFFODIL, the cruise commences at the Pier Head at 18.00, Seacombe 18.20 and Woodside 18.30 and lasts for 2 hours. A "devlish disco" will be provided on board. Advanced booking is required. Fares: Adults £3.40, Children £3.50. [Face painting extra].

Fireworks Criose - Friday 5th November 1999

To coincide with the Liverpool City Council Albert Dock Firework Display. Cruise departs Pier Head at 19.50, Seacombe 19.30, and Woodside 19.40. Lasting for one and a half hours the fares are: £7.00 adult, £5.00 child or £27.00 for family [2 adults & 3 children]. A special firework menu of refreshments will be available on board. Early advanced booking advised.

Christmas Lunches

Available at Woodside Terminal restaurant between 7 and 21 December - price £11.95. Call 0151-330-1481 for details.

Christmas Craft Fair - Sunday 12 December 1999

Between 10.00 and 16.00 at Woodside Terminal. Stall space reservations call 0151-330-1444.

Christmas Party Night - Friday 17th December 1999

Christmas Party Cruise on board ROYAL DAFFODIL between 20.30 and 00.00 with disco and supper. Price £16.00 per head.

Childrens' Christmas Party - Sunday 19 December 1999

Two hour cruise on board the ROYAL DAFFODIL. Children can visit Santa's Grotto and receive a "goody bag" and dance in the disco. Child fares: £6.50, Adult fares: £3.50. Face painting & photographs with Santa are extra. Adult fares include seasonal refreshments in the upper saloon comprising a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie. Departs from Pier Head at 13.00, Seacombe 13.20 and Woodside 13.30. Advanced booking required.

Christmas Office Parties 20 - 23 December 1999

Available on any afternoon between 12.00 and 15.45 for £5.00 per head. Bar and food available.

Millennium Eve Cruise 31 December 1999

On board ROYAL DAFFODIL. Fare: £200 per head. Passengers to arrive at Woodside terminal at 20.00 for a 20.30 departure. Entertainment will be by 1960s group "The Undertakers" in the main saloon and a disco on the dance deck. The fare includes an elaborate buffet [including vegetarian options], two drink vouchers valid at the two on-board bars, and a half bottle of champagne.  The cruise concludes at 01.45 at Pier Head and 02.00 at Woodside. Advanced booking required.

"Love Me Do" 60s Themed Cruise 14th February 2000

St. Valentines Day cruise. Commences from Pier Head at 20.30. Ticket price £20.00 inclusive of band, disco, supper and welcome drink. Live music by The Mojos. 60's style dress optional.

For the above cruises further details and reservations can be made on 0151-330-1444.

3 OCTOBER 1999 

NOTES & NEWS

Poor weather and disruption to SeaCo sailings upset my plans for this weekend. Consequently I am writing another news update. However, all being well next weekend I will go to the Isle of Man. Therefore there will be NO bulletin or updates next Sunday, though there will be updated Bulletin on Thursday 7th and Monday 11th October.

Make certain you have read the 30th September News Bulletin which was prepared in anticipation of me being away this weekend.

The change in plans has given me time to prepare some more gallery pages which are now available - please check the "What's New" section for details. A few older gallery pages have been transferred to the Mersey & Irish Sea Shipping Archives Site, whilst others have been moved off line.

In this week's news bulletin  there is also an update on Maritime Web Sites and a review of a new publication COASTAL SHIPS & FERRIES.

Once again I would like to thank correspondents and contributors for supplying news and information.

 SEA CONTAINERS

There are plans to hold a "Summer Ball" at the Mount Murray Hotel, Santon, Isle of Man on 18th August 1999 to celebrate 170 years to the day of the first sailing of the MONA'S ISLE from Douglas to Liverpool.

Fleet Deployments

With the reduction in frequency of the Dover - Ostend service the former Holyman InCats are deployed as following for the autumn:

RAPIDE - Now operating the Dover to Calais service.

DIAMANT - Continues to operate a reduced Ostend - Dover service.

ATLANTIC II has now ceased operating Dover - Calais sailings. The craft was noted on 29 September tied up on the East Side of Dover's Prince of Wales Pier all day. The Ostend Ferry Page reports that the craft was seen at Dover on 24 September laid up at the Admiralty Pier and appeared to be
undergoing modification. One wonders if the vessel is about to be again chartered to operate in warmer waters. At one point it had been anticipated that she would have appeared on the North Channel.

SUPERSEACAT FOUR: It appears that SUPERSEACAT FOUR may be introduced on the Newhaven - Dieppe route sooner than the March 2000 date previously expected. The vessel is expected to replace the SUPERSEACAT TWO to allow that vessel to operate the Belfast - Heysham route.

Weather Disrupts Sailings

Poor weather disrupted sailings on the Irish Sea this weekend. This is probably not a comprehensive list of alterations and cancellations but  amongst the changes were:

SUPERSEACAT THREE cancelled both return sailings on 1st October. Replaced on the 08.00 sailing by LADY OF MANN. SSC3 also failed to sail on 2nd & 3rd October due to adverse weather though it had been hoped that it might have been possible to operate the 17.45 from Liverpool and 22.45 return from Dublin. [See LADY OF MANN below]

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN - sailings were cancelled on 1 - 3 October due to adverse weather.

SEACAT DANMARK sailings between Heysham and Belfast were cancelled on 1st and 2nd October.

LADY OF MANN operated the 08.00 Liverpool to Dublin service on 1st October, arriving at Dublin at 15.20. After a quick turn round she sailed for Liverpool at 16.00. She reported to Mersey Radio as being all fast at Prince's Landing Stage at 23.00. Half an hour later she departed light for Douglas to operate the 07.30 Douglas to Liverpool on Saturday 2nd October she was back on Prince's Landing Stage just after 11.45.

The LADY OF MANN had then been thought likely  to sail from Liverpool for Dublin to work the 22.45 Dublin to Liverpool sailing, this did not materialise. As it transpired SUPERSEACAT THREE was  to have operated the 17.45 Liverpool to Dublin and the 22.45 return sailing. SSC3 called up Mersey Radio and several vessels in Liverpool Bay for condition reports but then cancelled her sailing around 17.15.

On Sunday 3rd October LADY OF MANN departed from Liverpool on the 08.00 sailing to Dublin at 08.12 with 97 passengers and 42 crew. Her TR indicated a Dublin ETA of 15.30, however, her actual arrival was reported at 14.50. Departing from Dublin at 15.50.  She was due back on Prince's Landing Stage at 23.00 according to Mersey Radio. The Lady is then expected to operate the delayed 19.00 SCIOM sailing from Liverpool to Douglas.

 

HOVERSPEED TIMETABLE by GARY ANDREWS

Hoverspeed's timetable from October 1999 to October 2000 has recently been published. The Folkestone - Boulogne service will close between 24 December and 2 March and re-opens initially operating weekends only 3 - 30 March (Friday - Sunday with Thursday sailings on 23 and 30 March). There will be no service on the Newhaven - Dieppe route between 4 January and 17 February. The Newhaven service re-opens with a weekend service on 18 February, a daily service returning on 31 March. Dover - Calais has no SeaCat service between 4 January and 3 February and when Dover - Ostend goes back to a two-craft service on 30 March, the route is scheduled to become hovercraft only for the summer. The ATLANTIC II's sailings were not in the original timetable for summer 1999 and it may be the case that Dover - Calais SeaCat sailings for summer 2000 will be added at a later stage.

JHL'S COMMENT: The above information should give enthusiasts some idea of when to expect various Sea Containers vessels to appear at various dry docks for their annual refits! 

BALLYCASTLE - CAMPBELTOWN by Gary Andrews

An announcement was expected on 29 September that the Sea Containers' subsidiary, the Argyll and Antrim Steam Packet Company planned to withdraw from the seasonal Ballycastle - Campbeltown route. On 29 September the Herald reported that on the previous day a spokesman for Sea Containers had told the newspaper:

"The service ended for the season on September 18 and we have been reviewing its future. We expect to make an announcement tomorrow."

However, in best "ferry announcement" tradition, to date there appears to have been no announcement. Indeed, in a statement attributed to a Sea Containers spokesman published elsewhere on the same day (29 September), it was reported that Sea Containers were still in talks with the local authorities in Argyll and Antrim and there would be no "instant announcement".

There has been doubt as to the depth of the company's commitment to the route since June last year, when Sea Containers suspended the service for more than two weeks in order use the CLAYMORE on Isle of Man TT duties. Meanwhile, this year witnessed a shorter operating season than last year.

The Herald reports that businesses in Kintyre already fear the worst. Bruce Urquhart, secretary of the Kintyre Marketing Group, representing 150 small businesses on the peninsula, has written to all Highland MSPs and Scottish Transport Minister Sarah Boyack. In a letter to Ms Boyack, Bruce Urquhart said: "We are well aware that the solution arrived at by the Conservative government was unsatisfactory and that your administration is now being asked to pick up the pieces, but I have been asked by my committee to urge you to give serious consideration to find ways of ensuring that the ferry service continues.

"There is something of a hiatus at present while Sea Containers make up their minds … and my main concern is that we will find ourselves in the situation where they withdraw from the service but it is then too late to find another operator for the year 2000. The credibility of the service has
already been badly damaged by indecision and poor marketing, and further delay can only exacerbate the problem.

"I know that these concerns are shared by the Area Tourist Board and by tour companies who are producing brochures for next year without knowing what is going to happen. This is not simply a matter of parochial concern in Kintyre. The economic benefits of the ferry link are being experienced right up the West Coast of Scotland and it would be sad to see that being lost as
well as the investment in Campbeltown and Ballycastle."

To the Members of the Scottish Parliament Mr Urquhart wrote: "All indications are that Sea Containers will not operate the service next year and Argyll and the Isles Enterprise and Argyll the Isles, Loch Lomond, Stirling and Trossachs Tourist Board are bracing themselves for the
announcement. We expect to be involved in a battle to convince MSPs that the future of the ferry service is as important to the West Highlands as is Kvaerner Govan to Glasgow, and we hope to receive your support."

It is unclear whether the Scottish Executive would allow the publicly owned Caledonian MacBrayne to take over. CalMac had sought to run the service in the first place, with the support of Labour politicians and almost every strand of local opinion. A spokeswoman for the Scottish Executive said:

"The issue is still undecided as Sea Containers is still reviewing its position. If Caledonian MacBrayne were to get involved, it would have to be a commercial decision. The Scottish Executive would not be able to subsidise it. It is not a lifeline service to the Scottish islands."

The spokeswoman added that it was possible that the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions in London might be able to help, as ferry routes out of Scotland were a reserved matter and not open for discussion in the Scottish parliament. Hope has been raised that the service
may become part of CalMac despite not being a "lifeline service to the Scottish islands" due to the precedent set by the firm's Northern Ireland service from Rathlin Island to Ballycastle, which is subsidised by the Northern Ireland Office.

ADDITIONAL STRANRAER SAILINGS by GARY ANDREWS

The additional sailings announced on Sea Containers Belfast - Stranraer route are to be operated by the SEACAT SCOTLAND.

The use of the SEACAT SCOTLAND on the additional Stranraer sailings is possible as from today (1 October) the SEACAT DANMARK is only required to operate one roundtrip per day on the Belfast - Heysham route (07.00 ex Belfast, 12.00 (was 12.15) ex Heysham) and can assist on Scottish sailings.

There is a certain degree of mystery surrounding the new sailing schedule with seemingly nothing "in print". However, a call to Sea Containers Irish Sea reservations department revealed that from 8 October, Friday to Monday will see two roundtrips per day on the Belfast - Stranraer route, instead of
the current one. (However, the Stranraer press had suggested that there would be three roundtrips per day).

The new Sea Containers sailing schedule from Belfast is as follows below. Please note that it has proved very difficult to get reliable information and details below are subject to confirmation.

KEY: FM - Friday - Monday, ED - Everyday, 1/10 - applicable from 1 October, 8/10 - applicable from 8 October.

07.00 Belfast - Heysham. (SEACAT DANMARK). ED 1/10.
08.00 Belfast - Troon. (SEACAT SCOTLAND). ED 1/10.
11.15 Troon - Belfast. (SEACAT SCOTLAND). ED 1/10.
12.00 Heysham- Belfast (was 1215). (SEACAT DANMARK). ED 1/10.
14.15 Belfast - Stranraer. (SEACAT SCOTLAND) ED 1/10.
18.15 Belfast - Troon. (SEACAT DANMARK).* ED 1/10.
18.30 Stranraer - Belfast. (SEACAT SCOTLAND) *ED 8/10 (possibly 1/10).
20.30 Belfast - Stranraer. (SEACAT SCOTLAND) FM 8/10
21.30 Troon - Belfast. (SEACAT DANMARK).* ED 1/10.
05.30 Stranraer - Belfast. (SEACAT SCOTLAND) FM 8/10.

* It is unclear whether or not the SEACAT SCOTLAND will operate her existing schedule Tuesday to Thursday i.e. following the 14.15 ex Belfast, operating 16.15 ex Stranraer, 18.15 ex Belfast and 21.30 ex Troon. This would see the SEACAT DANMARK lying over at Belfast following arrival in Belfast from her 12.00 ex Heysham, Tuesday to Thursday.

GARY ANDREWS' COMMENT: Given the timings of the additional sailings to Stranraer one would suggest that SeaCat Scotland are operating the sailings as a political expediency to comply with the wishes of Dumfries and Galloway Council as opposed to operating them for purely commercial reasons. It has long been the case that morning and afternoon sailings are the most popular on the North Channel with evening, night and early morning sailings proving less successful.

Additionally one must express concern that the sailing times haven't been advertised and are currently only revealed to those enquiring about sailing times. One would be concerned that the lack of publicity regarding the sailing times will affect business on the new Stranraer sailings.

A DAY TRIP TO BLACKPOOL by Gary Andrews

A caller to a radio programme revealed the rather interesting day trip experienced  by Northern Ireland passengers who had opted for a coach day trip to Blackpool on 28 September via the Belfast - Heysham route (at the very reasonable price of £29). Whilst the following is based on a radio phone-in account it still makes interesting reading.

The SEACAT DANMARK's 07.00 sailing was delayed until 08.00. As the craft made its way down Belfast Lough it seems passengers were informed that the vessel was operating on 3 engines and would take 6 hours to get to Heysham. Having enjoyed a much shorter day than planned in Blackpool, when the passengers arrived at Heysham to check in for the 22.00 Heysham - Belfast sailing they were informed the vessel was running "rather late". The vessel eventually
departed Heysham at 0130, and arrived in Belfast around 06.55, giving passengers a day trip lasting around 24 hours! 

PORT OF PRESTON REMEMBERED by Gary Andrews

Memories of Preston's days as a successful port were remembered by former dockers when they returned to one of their traditional pubs The Fylde Tavern (once named The Steamer) on 29 September for a reunion to mark the 20th anniversary of the decision to close the docks.

The former docklands area of Preston is now home to a mixture of housing, shopping, business and leisure. In 1979 Preston Council bowed to the inevitable and decided to shut the loss-making port, the port ceasing to trade a few years later.

Having opened as a port in 1892, Preston once hosted roll-on, roll-off ferry services to Belfast and Larne and was at one point the biggest container and unit load handling port in Britain.

STENA LINE

STENA LYNX III sailings between Fishguard and Rosslare were cancelled on 1st & 2nd October due to adverse weather conditions. On Sunday 3rd October Ceefax reported the 10.45 sailing from Fishguard to Rosslare as operational but with the afternoon sailing in extreme doubt.

The completion of maintenance work on the STENA CHALLENGER berth in Holyhead has been further delayed and is now not expected to be completed before 2 October.

The current temporary sailing schedule on the Holyhead - Dublin route has therefore continued with the normal schedule currently anticipated to resume with the 15.00 departure from Holyhead on 2 October.

IRISH FERRIES

JONATHAN SWIFT sailings between Holyhead and Dublin were cancelled  1 - 3 October due to adverse weather conditions.

Brian Chambers' Rosslare Europort, and Marine News service reports that Irish Ferries' NORMANDY is now operating her winter sailing schedule on the Rosslare - Cherbourg route.

Until 7 January the vessel operates three sailings a week from Rosslare, departing 22.00 Wednesday and Friday and 18.00 Sunday. There is still no news regarding which vessel will operate the Continental services of Irish Ferries in 2000.

Meanwhile a special charity performance of the "Normandy Nights Spectacular Stage Show" was held onboard the NORMANDY in Rosslare harbour on 26 September at 13.00 in aid of the local RNLI branch. The show lasted around 90 minutes and took place in the vessel's "Molly Malones Bar".

Visit Brian's Rosslare Europort web site, which includes photos, information and details of how to join his mailing list. See  http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/Set/2982/.

 BRIAR STAR LTD: SWANSEA - CORK FERRIES

Sailings on the Swansea - Cork route were again affected by poor weather this week with the SUPERFERRY's sailings on 28 and 29 September cancelled.

IRISH NAVAL SERVICE

The new vessel LE RÓISÍN will undertake sea trials next week and is due to be delivered to the Haulbowline Naval Base, Cobh during October. Some remaining fitting out work will be carried out at Haulbowline, which includes the fitting of a 76mm Otto Malera Naval gun.

US NAVAL VISITORS TO MERSEYSIDE

Two Mark V Special Operations Craft berthed at the Canning Half Tide basin this weekend. The high speed craft have a top speed of 50knots. They were built following the Gulf War and each has five gun mounts capable of accepting a M-60 machine gun or grenade launcher. Just over a week ago the same craft paid a visit to Penzance, Cornwall where the crews were given a civic reception.

MERSEY FERRIES

Demolition of the old Seacombe Landing Stage is well underway at Mortar Mill Quay, East Float. On Saturday 3rd October almost all the stage buildings apart from the blue shed have now been removed. Piles of debris remained on the stage along with some of the temporary supports for the stage bridges. The fog signal on the new Seacombe Stage is not operative.

MD&HC

The Q.6 Red Can Boat Beacon missing from station - and was reported ashore on Crosby beach this weekend presumably as a result of the bad weather. Last winter several boat beacons ended up ashore.

The bad weather disrupted the pilot service. On Sunday 3rd October at 15.30 the wind was reported at Point Lynas : NNW 7/8 : pilot service suspended and The Bar : NNW 7/8 : pilot service suspended. At the Seaforth Radar Tower : NNW 35 knots


BOOK REVIEW: COASTAL SHIPS & FERRIES

Ian Allen have recently published a new book entitled COASTAL SHIPS & FERRIES written by David Hornsby. In many respects it is not unlike the railway spotters books published by the same company, however, it is of a much larger format. Well illustrated in good monochrome photographs [except for the colour covers] it is hard backed and printed on quality glossy paper.

Apparently this book is a new edition of a work first published back in 1964. The contents are divided into a Glossary of Terms, Part One - Ferries and Part Two - Coastal Cargo Vessels.

Ships are listed according to owners and details are provided of hull and funnel colours [Wouldn't some schematic colour illustrations have livened ?], routes operated - for ferries, names, flag, date of construction, capacity, speed, tonnage and former names.

Generally speaking most this information in the case of ferries is available in the excellent annual publication "Ferries of the British Isles and Northern Europe" compiled annually by Nick Widdows'. Mr. Widdows' book also contains useful operator information, addresses, 'phone/fax numbers, web site URLs and e-mail addresses. COASTAL SHIPS & FERRIES does not.

As far as coastal ships are concerned Bernard McCall's excellent Coasters and Short Sea Shipping covers that sphere of operation along the lines that Nick Widdows gives to Ferries. However, COASTAL SHIPS & FERRIES includes vessels which are larger than would normally be considered to be coasters and consequently covers a greater range of operators.

Unfortunately browsing through COASTAL SHIPS & FERRIES some glaring errors are apparent in the ferries section. Before I go any further one must bear in mind that this book was only published in summer 1999 with the author's introduction dated July. Some of the errors include:

BELARD and KING ORRY are still members of the Sea Containers fleet - its well over a year since BELARD departed and KING ORRY has been gone since last October.

ATLANTIC II or SUPERSEACAT FOUR are not listed, even though ATLANTIC II has spent the summer on the Channel and SSCIV has been completed and laid up pending delivery.

Worse still P&O's EUROPEAN PIONEER is still shown as BISON and Irish Ferries operates a vessel known as the ISLE OF INNISFREE!

As for Stena Line there is no mention of STENA LYNX III which operates the Fishguard - Rosslare high speed service but the older 74m Incat STENA LYNX is still listed.

Several other well known British vessels do not appear - Isles of Scilly Steamship Company's freighter GRY MARITHA is not listed as she maintains the Isles of Scilly service for freight, vehicles and a very limited number of passengers during the winter months this is a serious omission. Further more WAVERLEY and BALMORAL also fail to appear, which considering both vessels operate several seasonal routes on a scheduled basis on both Clyde and Bristol Channel is another notable omission.

I don't feel as though I have anywhere near enough knowledge to make a fair judgement on the much larger Coastal Shipping section of the book and therefore will not pass comment here, though from the glaring errors in the Ferries section I would guess there are errors in this area.

Ian Allen have been respected transport publishers for many years and it is disappointing to note a book containing so many obvious errors has emerged from this large publishing house considering that smaller publishers can produce work of much greater accuracy and usefulness.

As much of the information contained within COASTAL SHIPS & FERRIES is available elsewhere I would think that the purchase of the existing annual publications covering these operations is recommended and will cost you no more. They are more accurate and contain much more in the way of useful information for the enthusiast and maritime professional.

At present there is no indication that COASTAL SHIPS & FERRIES will be updated on an annual basis and thus, at best, serves to be a snapshot of coastal and ferry fleets in 1999 - and a not entirely accurate one at that.  

WEB SITE NEWS

Ferguson Shipbuilders of Clydeside opened a new web-site this week at: http://www.ferguson-shipbuilders.co.uk/ The site is well laid out, however, an announcement on the front page informs readers that it is not Netscape compatible and should only be used with MS Explorer 4 or higher.

Some other web sites which I have included in the updated web links pages recently include:

Port of Larne at http://www.portoflarne.co.uk/

Square Sail at http://www.square-sail.com/ . Square sail are based in the historic Cornish port of Charlestown. They operate a fleet of sailing ships which available for film & TV charter and have been seen on many recent movies and drama series as well as providing sets and maritime resources for film makers as well as sailing ship repairs. In addition the company operates day and longer cruises aboard their vessels which, when not in use are open to the public for inspection at their Charlestown base.

Another site worth visiting is  Trinity House http://www.trinityhouse.co.uk/ . Trinity House is the lighthouse authority for England and Wales. This comprehensive site provides a lot of information of pharologists!

For Irish Lights you should visit the Commissioners of the Irish Lights who run a similar comprehensive web site at http://www.cil.ie/ .

On the subject of Lighthouses does anyone know if the Northern Lighthouse Board have a web site or plan to establish one. Searches suggest that the board which operates lighthouses in Scotland and the Isle of Man are yet to establish a web presence.

The site of Irish Marine has also recently been drawn to my attention. It provides a news and information pages for   Irish Marine industries and coastal communities at: http://www.irish.marine.com

Finally I am developing the "Other Links" section of the links pages to provide more information on web sites which will be of interest to visitors from the UK to Ireland and the Isle of Man. I have quite a list of sites which I have visited which will be of interest some of the links are now available.

John Luxton

3rd  October 1999

 

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